Welcome to the 20th edition of “How to Make Money While Travelling” which features successful nomadic teams and interviews with travel entrepreneurs.
This week I interviewed Stéphanie Smolders and Peter Beukering, the founders of Tourist Exclusive; a luxury travel website that looks for hidden gems around the world.
Q1: How do you make money while travelling?
We partner with hotels and restaurants with our luxury travel website, Tourist Exclusive. We get a lot of our stays and meals sponsored in return for publicity. We are looking to get more income from just the website and our Instagram @touristexclusive. So if anyone can help us out…
I (Stéphanie) also teach Dutch online to multiple students and do a lot of copywriting for other websites. Peter is in charge of our collaborations on Instagram. Besides that he also has a consultancy company where he helps small business around the world to grow and generate more sales.
Q2: What were you doing before Tourist Exclusive?
I used to work in a primary school as a teacher. Peter used to be in management in different companies. We were based in Belgium but traveled almost every weekend all around Europe.
Q3: What are your reasons for becoming location independent?
We felt something needed to change. We were both working every day until 10 pm. We only saw each other during the weekends because life would get so busy and then we would escape to another country to get more content for our website. We were walking besides our shoes as they would say in Belgium. In the Western world we want to have a lot and we sacrifice everything for that one goal.
We wanted things differently. We want to meet with likeminded people, experience different cultures, spend more time in nature, follow our dreams and then one day we had terrible news. One of Peter’s friends was killed in a road accident in Madagascar. Life can be over so quick, why not make the most of it?
Q4: What challenges do you face in your career while both working and travelling?
For me, personally, it is letting go of trying to control everything. I used to be in the one who organised everything for 20 – 30 kids on a daily basis. Now we just follow whatever comes on our path. Sometimes we don’t have a place to stay and we need to count on other people to let us sleep somewhere. Sometimes we are stuck and we need to ask for help to strangers. For me that is still one of those things I need to learn. The other one is to find a balance between enjoying the country and working. The articles still need to be written but it is such a shame if you can’t explore the city or country that you are in. We find it hard to find a balance between work and fun.
Q5: What is the biggest lesson you have learnt from becoming location independent?
The biggest lesson would be that material things aren’t important. We sold all our stuff (cars, furniture, clothes, …) and started off with just two big suitcases. You actually don’t need 20 different dresses. You start to appreciate the things that you do have instead of wanting more and more.
Q6: How do you find work while travelling?
We contact companies directly by phone or we try to visit them. This is the most effective way to get your brand out there. We do this for our website but also for the consultancy company. Besides that I find work on fiverr, upwork and through Facebook groups. Once you start working with clients and they appreciate your work they will pass on your name.
Q7: Do you think businesses should offer more remote working opportunities? If so, why?
We think that in all businesses there should be the option to work remotely. It is important that you know where you can focus more. Some people can focus better when they are surrounded with like minded people, others need a quiet room. If you can work remotely you can decide what works best for you and you will even be more productive to the company.
Q8: What would your advice be to someone who wants to quit their desk job to become location independent?
What are you waiting for? There will always be an office to come back to if it doesn’t work out for you. Any advice we can give you is that you have to try for yourself. If you like the company that you are working for you can have a talk with your boss about the option of taking some time to work location independent. Prove your boss you are even more productive when you are not tied to your desk and you are good to go. If you don’t like your job right now try a lot of different things until you find something that you would love to do every day.