Dealing with the covid crisis as a Digital Nomad13 min read
Dealing with the covid crisis as a Digital Nomad13 min readReading Time: 9 minutes
I had a chance to speak to six successful digital nomads and see how they are dealing with the covid crisis, what they are doing to maintain their current business and how they use their time during the lockdown effectively. Furthermore, we discussed how the future of work will look like, what are their plans for the near future and how the covid outbreak will change our society.
Jen & Ellen: If you haven’t yet started working online, now is the time to do it!
When you think of a digital nomad you’re probably picturing someone who travels to every corner of the world, having the beach as their office and spending every day on the road. Although, with everything going on in the world right now, with borders closing, airlines no lg onger flying and people being asked to stay in their homes you’re probably also thinking that digital nomads must be a dying breed these days, but for us that hasn’t been the case at all.
We are Jen and Ellen, more often known as @anywheregirls and as two best friends who have been traveling around the world together for the past six years, we have created a business around our travels and lived the typical digital nomad life every day. Traveling so much has allowed our brand and business to thrive, all while visiting one amazing place after the other and we have created the luxury for ourselves to be anywhere we want at any time. So how are we managing to keep our business going and even thriving in these times of travel bans? That is exactly what we are going to share with you now!
So first of all, the most important thing to do right now, in our opinion, is to take a positive approach to all the changes currently happening in the world. Even though not being able to travel might feel like the end of the world, that is a very luxurious problem to have and there is still a lot you can do to grow (or start) your online business. Even if you can’t be on your way to the next destination creating content, there is always back office stuff to get done. If we’re gonna be positive – there has never been a better time to work online! Instead of thinking that you are “stuck” at home with nothing to do, maybe you’ve even lost your job, the best thing you can do is to avoid getting hooked on Netflix and see this as the perfect opportunity to get stuff done and find new sources of income!
We started off our online career building our brand through our instagram about a year ago and have since then been able to monetize our brand through e-commerce and our social media marketing business. More specifically we sell digital products, we do affiliate marketing through social media and we coach and help people create their perfect freedom based lifestyle by working online. Although it might look to the outside as all we do is create inspiring content and go on exciting adventures, a lot of our work is done in front of our laptops. Therefore, not being able to travel means we can spend even more time in front of our laptops and get more work done.
If you haven’t yet started working online, now is the time to do it! If you have no idea where to start, what better time than now is there to learn a new skill? We believe there is always more to learn so now that we have more time than usual on our hands we have decided to take a few online courses to stay on track and scale our business. We have decided to develop our skills in online marketing, personal development, photography, editing and coaching. There are so many courses on the internet so whatever your niche is, we assure you that you will find something new to learn. This is also a perfect time for us to be looking into personal development and we have started a 30 day “sprint” meaning we have a number of tasks that we have to complete every day. These tasks include exercise, breath work, meditation, educating ourselves, writing down gratitudes and affirmations and reading books to mention a few, and all of these tasks are meant to contribute to us growing our business. If you want to do your own sprint you can come up with whatever tasks you think will be beneficial for your growth. Our main goal for this time of crises and worldly lockdowns is to come out stronger, happier and with new skills that we can use in the future. Let’s face it, more and more people are losing their jobs, so to us nothing makes more sense than taking charge and securing your own future by working online.
We have spent the last seven months living in Bali and our plan was to stay a bit longer but due to the covid ‘crisis’ we decided to go back home to our families in Sweden where we are originally from. We usually only spend a few weeks a year at home so we thought this would be a good time to be at home. Coming from Bali where we were under complete lock down, we were a bit surprised to arrive to our small hometowns in Sweden where almost everything seems to be completely normal. People are hanging out, eating in restaurants and doing what they like. Even so, we have decided to take our own responsibility and isolate ourselves in our homes to help get this virus over with quicker. To be honest, all we want is to get on the next flight but everyone has to do their part and we aren’t too fussed since we think being “stuck” at home is the perfect time to look at new strategies and systems for our business as well as creating new products, getting new clients and even expanding by taking on new members to our team.
Something that we have thought a lot about the past few weeks is the fact that the world is no longer guaranteed to stay the way that it always has been and from now on we will be careful not to take our way of life for granted. Traveling the world full time for the past six years, going wherever we want, has been everyday life for us and now we don’t know if that will be as easy anymore. In saying that we will make sure to keep living our life to the fullest, we will do what makes us happy as much as we can and we will keep encouraging and helping people to work online and being able to go out and see the world. Life is short and this covid crisis has made us realise how important it is for us to be able to travel and have freedom so after this is all over and we can travel freely again, we hope more people take action to do what they want and dream of before it’s too late!
Jen & Ellen are two tropical addicts from Sweden who started a never ending world trip in 2014. If you would like to know more about them visit their blog Anywheregirls.
Debbie: I am trying to focus on maintaining my current clients
One of the biggest things I have done to create income even during this crisis is to maintain my current clients. We often get so caught up with trying to get new clients that we overlook what we can do with the ones we already have. I make sure that my clients are happy with my services and ask if there are any other ways we can collaborate. They are also the best people to ask for recommendations and get more clients through word of mouth.
During this time, I often find that we are panicking and we want to do something new or create other things, but this can actually take away from the business that we already have. So, whenever I want to try new projects I often think about what I can do to make my current business be more versatile first instead of trying something completely new out of desperation. I also ask myself, is this idea going to serve me, or distract me from my ultimate goal. Is this action coming from a place of panic or growth?
Debbie: is leading a podcast where she talks to digital nomads and remote bosses. If you would like to know more about Debbie visit her blog How to create a podcast.
Alyssa: Consider multiple revenue streams for your business
For both scenarios, whether you’re trying to maintain or start a business right now, it’s important to remember that many people aren’t spending money right now. That being said, it’s a great time to grow and get creative, but don’t focus only on your immediate profits or you may be discouraged.
For existing businesses, use this time to learn new techniques that will help expand your audience reach, drive traffic to your website, and make your brand even more professional. Take courses and web seminars on the latest social media tricks and techniques, and apply them to your business to keep people’s attention and loyalty.
If you’re looking to start a business, you definitely have a lot of time to do it right now! My advice is to not rush it, again, learn the latest trends and techniques in marketing and advertising, and aim to appeal to what the common audience currently is: people staying at home!
For both scenarios it’s also important to consider multiple revenue streams for your business, not just one that if it fails, will leave you without income. For example my overall brand of My Life’s a Movie has about five revenue streams; ads on the blog, sponsored posts on the blog and social media, a boutique, speaking engagements, and group trips. Since I can’t do two of those right now, I still have three to fall back on so my losses aren’t as bad!
Alyssa: a 30-year old self-made travel blogger and social media influencer who packed away all of her stuff a few years ago and has been traveling solo full-time ever since. If you would like to know more about Alyssa visit her blog My Life is a movie.
Joao: Learn new skills and spend time with your family
Well, at this point that people have to stay indoors and supposedly have plenty of time, whoever doesn’t learn a new skill, organizes pending jobs and just procrastinates, didn’t really take advantage of the situation. I don’t think people should change their dreams, although if they can’t really survive they should definitely activate plan B in order to survive. and that’s it, some businesses will survive and others will not. At the moment I have my hotel and my travel agency temporarily closed. Fortunately, I do have some savings, and I also have some online clients that give me some monthly income.
When it comes to my free time now i try to teach my 5 year old son new skills :). Also i’m trying to sleep a bit more since i never sleep more than 4 or 5 hours daily, now i’m trying to go up to 6, 7 or 8 hours per day of sleep and trying to keep fit with daily sport.
Joao: Traveling since 1999. According to him the greatest aspect of traveling is the ability to witness all elements of life come together into a kind of foreshortened timeline. It’s as if we are simultaneously time traveling through our past and future. Secured by its focal present, collectively combining all lessons into our own being at each point in time and in each present moment. If you would like to know more about Joao, visit his blog JoaoLeitao.
Luis: Do not watch media so often, slow down and think about what is important in life
There is gonna be a before and after covid outbreak. Nobody knows what exactly will happen. There is a lot of uncertainty and everybody is trying to focus on the future. What I did is I am trying to focus on the present. We are on a lockdown from March 5 and nobody knows when the situation will get better, so what I am trying to do is use this time and not to focus on the future right now. I am also trying not to watch media so often, because this is just increasing my level of stress and uncertainty. So I am watching the news only once a day, I need to be informed, however, I should not be exhausted.
One of the effects of covid is that we all needed to slow down. Slow down and think about what is important in life. I also think that after covid outbreak many things will change and life will be very different from how it was before. We will not go back to our normal life, but maybe, we should not even do it, because, maybe our “normal life” was broken already. We need to build a new normal. I keep telling people, this (outbreak) is just an appetiser, what might come after this is a climatic crisis and that could be much worse than the current outbreak. On a positive side, every crisis brings an opportunity. Another positive side of covid outbreak will be that it will unify people. People will start to cooperate and collaborate rather than compete against each other. We need to develop empathy and try to understand each other.
Thanks to the pandemic, we are going to discover a new generation of leaders like health care professionals, shop assistants, doctors etc. The current role of classical leadership, where we see as a typical leader a middle aged man in suit could not work in the future. People will realize what really matters in life, will start to appreciate people who are working in the front line during the outbreak. This will also completely change the future of work. Currently, almost everybody who can is working from home. Remote work is on the rise. The benefits of remote work are numerous : no need to commute, spending time with family, possibility to eat home and organize your working day. According to studies, one hour working remotely equals 2.5 hours in office. Thanks to pandemic we will realize if we really like our job, since we have a lot of time to think about what makes us truly happy. 2021 will be an amazing year for the artists. Boredom boosts creativity. The pandemic will form new creative thinkers, since we do have a lot of spare time.
Luis: a business developer, Digital Transformation and Data Analytics doer. A well seasoned Social / Open Business strategist and 2.0 practitioner with over 23 years of working experience on Knowledge Management, Collaboration, Learning, Online Communities and Social Networking for Business. If you would like to know more about Luis, visit his blog Elsua.
Written by: Kristina Lukacova, a DN that enjoys good food, good wine and good vibes.