Welcome to the 5th edition of “How to Make Money While Travelling” which features successful nomadic teams and interviews with location independent entrepreneurs.
This week I interviewed Shannon Nixon, the founder of The Digital Nomad Company, an online membership community designed to teach people how to become digital nomads and equip current digital nomads with income growth opportunities, business building tools, and networking connections.
So, how do you make money while travelling?
Prior to starting The Digital Nomad Company, I was freelance writing, teaching music lessons, and tutoring English from my laptop.
What were you doing before The Digital Nomad Company?
Haha! Fumbling around, mostly. Trying to find a way to create my location-independent lifestyle. I obtained by Business degree at 18, worked in community and professional theater, performed as a jazz singer for two years in a lounge, and had just about every odd job you could think of (nanny, cater waiter, receptionist, housekeeper, house sitter, dog walker, and barn hand among others).
What are your reasons for becoming location independent?
For me, the realization that I never wanted a conventional job came at an early age. From about 18-21, I spent a lot of time trying to get my footing. Just working odd jobs until I could establish myself as someone who worked remotely. I knew I would never be satisfied with a 9-5, so I did whatever was necessary to ensure I didn’t go that route. I want to be able to travel indefinitely and at any moment. Even when I become more “settled” in life and start a family, I want my children to receive an education by traveling and getting introduced to world history and other cultures.
Do you face any challenges while both working and travelling?
Oh, certainly. Sometimes it is difficult to maintain the self-discipline necessary to “go to worK” while I’m traveling. I’ll enjoy a day of socializing and exploring with new friends that I met at some hostel and then have to say, “Sorry guys, I have to go teach a few lessons” or “I have to catch up on some emails”. But honestly, that’s probably the only downside (for me).
How do you find work while travelling?
I actually found my work before I started traveling. On a whim, I decided I wanted to be a writer, so I set out to find online gigs and create a sustainable income through freelance work. Once, I had that, I bought by one-way ticket to Europe.
Why do you think businesses should offer more remote working opportunities?
From the employer's standpoint, it will drastically reduce overhead expenses. If a business can find individuals they trust will do the work efficiently, they should allow them to work remotely. This is beneficial to management, as well as employees who want more flexibility in their personal life. Trust is key though. More businesses will have to learn how to entrust job roles (that comes with the design to allow for remote work) to their team and believe said employees will handle the work competently and with the same care the business owners would.
If you were to give advice to someone who wants to quit their desk job to become location independent, what would it be?
It sounds so bland and cliche, but just do it. It doesn’t have to be a reckless decision...you can do a bit of planning first, but don’t let the planning to get out process delay you from actually getting out. Do your research, learn how other people set up a location independent lifestyle, and be committed to the idea of adopting this lifestyle. Prepare for failures, but don’t accept those failures as the end of the road. Fight through until you have achieved what you want.
What is your favourite travel quote?
I don’t think I have a favorite because every travel quote I’ve come across resonates with me. However, though not intrinsically travel-related, this one does apply to my journey as both a traveler and business owner (and I imagine it would ring true for many others). This was said by Theodore Roosevelt in his “Citizenship In A Republic Speech” given at the Sorbonne:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Do you have a mantra, slogan, or catchphrase?
As a writer, I really should have some kind of mantra or slogan, but I don’t. Instead, I close out my day by reviewing the short-term and long-term goals I’d like to achieve professionally, relationally, personally, and so on. It provides a sense of clarity.
Thanks, The Digital Nomad Company!
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