How to make it as a digital nomad: 12 startups in 12 months
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Photo Credit: Kate and Paul

Meet this British couple that decided to break with convention and live as digital nomads, building startups as they make their way through the world

I first met Kate and Paul in Prague this past spring. They were two backpackers from the UK who just arrived from Poland, great people who have gone and taken a risk by pursuing a dream. Between the two of them, Kate and Paul have over 15 years experience working in digital agencies, IT, and gaming. They worked together in central London and before too long, started dating.

Despite the comforts of home, they both realised they felt unfulfilled in corporate jobs. In looking to shake things up, they decided over Christmas dinner to quit their jobs and travel the world. To add to the challenge, the couple planned to build a business together, something they both had never done before. They sold off every that would not fit in their backpacks (including Paul’s Porsche) and headed off on their adventure.

Founding 12 startups in 12 months

Soon after they began their travels, the pair concluded that building one business would not be enough for them. Being on the road helped them develop a wealth of ideas. They came up with a challenge of creating one startup or MVP (minimum viable product) per month to give their best ideas the best chance possible. “We’re happy to say that by month three, we were cash positive in all of our businesses and by month five, we were making enough from our first two startups to be able to sustain our minimalist travels, though we are putting all we earn back into the businesses to give them the best chance possible,” says Kate. Right now, they are at seven months, seven startups and 20 countries visited.

Kate

Kate

We can run our businesses from anywhere in the world

The couple says their work must be very structured. They used to prioritise their businesses and large goals weekly, then this changed into a daily to do list as they are now managing seven businesses. Initially, they would stay in each location for only a week at a time. Now, they say they like to stay a bit longer in each place, averaging two to four weeks on average per location. They also like to get involved in the local startup scenes as they go. They attend meetups, share knowledge at talks, and meet up with fellow entrepreneurs that they have connected with via social media and the website Startuptravels.

They work mostly from coworking spaces or cafes. “Once we’ve got our tasks set, we commonly explore for a great space to work whilst experiencing the local culture around us. We feel that this way we get to see more every day life and understand the culture deeper as opposed to just seeing the tourist attractions,” says Kate. They have no intention to settle down in the near future and want to make this lifestyle permanent.

Socially responsible marketplace and tea surprise packages

Kate and Paul have developed a fluidity in running their businesses, and so far have avoided the need to define specific roles for their projects. They do most of tasks themselves, from the research, brainstorming, building business models and websites, coding, design, social media, marketing to the growth and management of each business. They have however had opportunities for utilizing some outsourcing as well. “Due to this we regularly find ourselves swapping roles and tasks. This allows us to understand what’s involved to complete each task, keep learning and keep all our perspectives fresh,” says Paul on the dynamics of their work style.

Regarding which projects they have been the proudest of so far, the couple listed some of their favorites. The first is TeaWitty, a loose leaf surprise tea subscription service specialising in providing the healthiest teas from around the world on a monthly basis. The service sources the tea direct from the farmers and provides a further means for the farmer to promote their teas if the subscriber would like more of the surprise tea.

They also have more community oriented projects. YouMeAchive is a community that helps connect entrepreneurs so they can achieve goals and keep each other accountable. PurposeWins is a socially responsible marketplace of uniquely crafted items from all around the world.

Kate and Paul blog about their startups and travels on www.innerwanderlust.com

Kate and Paul

Kate and Paul

Travelling helps build communities around projects

Kate and Paul get involved in local communities, whether through social media or in person at the local startup scene. The talks and meetups help them to build communities around their projects. For social media they make use of the analytics within Hootsuite which enables them to see which of social media posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have had the most engagement helping them to optimize across platforms.  For PR, they use HARO (help a reporter out). Readers can find a full list of marketing tools that they use on their blog.

Digital nomading is becoming increasingly attractive to many skilled workers who are tired of the daily grind. Recognizing this fact, many companies have started offering the possibility to work remotely to their employees. Co-working spaces are booming all over the world and they see more and more people like Paul and Kate setting up temporary shop there. Working while travelling is hard but one can see many benefits.

When you stay in a place for a long period of time, it is easy to fall into a comfort zone and not achieve as much as you could. As Kate says, “When you travel you are always living your life to the fullest, as you may not be back there anytime soon.”

Kate and Paul are lucky –  they can work, travel, inspire and support each other.

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