Welcome to the 1st edition of “How to Make Money While Travelling” which features successful nomadic teams and interviews with location independent entrepreneurs.
This week, I interviewed Liam and Karen, an Australian graphic designer and a Brazilian account / project manager. Powers combined, they are “Working As We Go”, a marketing team of two ready to manage projects and create designs as they travel the globe!
So, how do you make money while travelling?
Liam: Even though it is just the two of us, Working As We Go is essentially a small marketing and design company and as such we earn our money on a project basis. We complete projects for our new and existing clients in the areas of digital, branding and print design to earn our money. Karen also became a consultant for SEO & SEM with a company in Australia who kind of outsource the work to her, although it’s not really outsourcing because Karen features on their website on the Meet the team page. This is a good area for us because once a client signs on there is consistent money coming through each month, and even better, I don’t have to do anything, it’s all Karen’s work. Yay!
What were you doing before WAWG?
Karen: Before we left we were essentially doing the same things but for other people. I was working for a large agency in Sydney called Ogilvy where I was a digital project manager but I also worked in the SEO & SEM fields too. And Liam worked as a designer in a boutique agency. So when we left we simply combined our skills to form Working As We Go.
What are your reasons for becoming location independent?
Liam: The initial decision came from a desire to see the world, obviously. So this past year, especially the first 6 months were pretty hectic. We travelled all over Europe, a bit of Asia and the Americas and it was awesome. But the bigger picture was that I’m Australian and Karen is Brazilian so we wanted to bridge the gap between our two sets of friends and family by becoming location independent. In the future our lifestyle of being location independent will be more geared to spending a few months here (Brazil), and few months there (Australia) as opposed to country hoping for months on end. Although having the flexibility to be able to do this if we wanted to is an obvious bonus.
Do you face any challenges while both working and travelling?
Karen: There are your standard things like finding good WiFi or a nice comfortable place to work without distractions. One of the main challenges is to actually stay focussed on our work. If we have a project/s then it’s all hands on deck. We have always prioritised billable work over sightseeing but when it’s quiet and we should search for more work or write a blog to expand our network, sometimes the temptation of a beer at the beach, or stroll through the city is too much. It’s a good challenge to have, but it really is a threat to productivity sometimes.
How do you find work while travelling?
Liam: When we left Australia I already had a number of clients which I received work from from time to time however the majority of the work we have received along the way has come from two main avenues. The first are references and even some projects from people we have worked with back home. While Karen worked at Ogilvy she made a lot of connections and we have received a number of large and some on going projects from these connections. Which just goes to show that working hard and networking pays off. The second way is from people seeing our project / website and liking what we are doing. We have had many projects from friends of friends who have seen us on social media and needed some design or marketing work and have employed us over other companies because they love what we are doing.
Why do you think businesses should offer more remote working opportunities?
Karen: In this day and age you can practically work from anywhere, the technology is there. Why not use it? All employers want to have happy employees because a happy worker is a productive worker. We can tell you from experience that travelling and working makes me a very happy worker. It obviously wouldn’t work for all industries, but if it does, then why not?
If you were to give advice to someone who wants to quit their desk job to become location independent, what would it be?
Both: Two things. Be prepared & work hard before you leave. Before we left we worked A LOT. We were working in our agency jobs and then coming home and freelancing. It was tough at times but it was great because not only were we saving money but we were also creating good working relationships for the future which has turned into projects while we have been travelling. And with the money, it is hard to start earning money right away with any business so the more money you have saved up the better. We saved up enough to get us through about 7 months if we never earned a cent, but we did earn some cents, dollars actually, and we are still living reasonably comfortable. Well, living comfortably cheap at least.
What is your favourite travel quote?
Do you have a mantra, slogan, or catchphrase?
Working As We Go, it’s not a holiday, it’s a lifestyle.