Text to Speech
What is a workation? It’s a mix of “work” and “vacation.”
What are digital nomads?
The term “working while on vacation” or “working while traveling” is commonly used to refer to a “workation”. “Digital nomads” are people who do this all the time.
A digital nomad is someone who can run their business from anywhere because they have made it digital. So, they can work while traveling or while they are in another country. This way of running your business is a very freeing and easy way to work and live. Most employers don’t like it when you work abroad because they like to keep an eye on you. They want you to sit on their lap for the rest of your life. During your work time, they want to see what you’re doing, get results right away, and get in touch if something goes wrong.
But recently, things have changed, and situations have developed. Because of the pandemic, a lot of people began to work online. Many people used the time when everyone was on lockdown to learn how to make money from home. People are much more open to the idea of working from home now, so nowadays, if you’re an employee, you can tell your boss, “I’d like to travel and do my work from afar.” However, most employers are still not very interested in doing this. Most employers don’t like it when you work from home because they can’t keep track of how many hours you work. By pressing your fingerprint on the clocking machine or scanning your employee identification card when you clock in and out, your employer can figure out how many hours you work. Employers are not keen on you working from home because they know it will be harder to keep you in line if you work remotely.
So, rather than being paid by the hour, you should talk to your boss about how much you will be paid for work based on the results of your work... In the long run, this is the better choice for you. When you get paid by the hour, only your employer benefits from you being more productive and efficient. This is because you produce more results, which will give you a sense of job satisfaction, but your employer will be the only one to benefit financially. You and your boss share the benefits when you get paid for results. I think this is a fairer arrangement than getting paid by the hour. Do you agree?
Digital nomads work as freelancers, self-employed people, employees, business owners, or investors to make a living. But most of them still have a long way to go before they can truly call themselves “digital nomads” and travel the world while working from their laptops.
So, what happened during my workation in Bali?
Right after sunrise, many of us played sports or surfed at the beach nearby. After our morning sports, we all got together for breakfast. Then almost everyone took out their laptops and started working.
Surprisingly, all digital nomads used Apple Macbooks. At that time Microsoft made Edge the standard browser for the Windows operating system, which could not be uninstalled, not even disabled completely. It behaved like a drowned corpse and kept coming up again and again. Especially if one needs it the least. I considered that as a reason to quit working with Windows. I also bought a secondhand MacBook before I went for the workation. But the pain l experienced by migrating to the almost upside down behavior, different keyboard, and desktop layouts. Additionally, the keyboard shortcuts, which did not work anymore, were such a pain that I very soon regret what I did. I had the feeling it slowed down my speed of working by 80%. Which is a hardly bearable pain for somebody like me. I guess I already mentioned before, that patience is not one of my strengths! Now I understand why the bitten apple is the symbol of expulsion from paradise. Funnily later I learned, the Buddhists claim, Steve considered becoming a Buddhist. Probably due to his insight, which pain he caused, due to this product misdesign. There was no space in Paradise left for him anymore.
There were 12 people at the workation, and they all worked in different fields. One of them, for example, used a service called Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon). If you wish to use this service, you can buy products from other countries, such as China, and have them shipped straight into an Amazon warehouse anywhere in the world. Most of the time, you don’t even get to see what you’re selling. It goes directly from China to wherever you want to sell it. Most of the time, you choose the location where you expect your product to do well. Then Amazon’s FBA service takes care of everything else, like processing orders, shipping, packing, returns, and refunds. FBA is a business model where all you have to do is market it and ensure your Amazon shop ranks well and gets a lot of traffic.
Another person at the workation was a specialist in optimizing Amazon listings. He helped people, like those doing FBA, who already had products on Amazon. His primary focus was ensuring the products ranked well in Amazon search results. To generate sales and get reviews, he helped set things up for them. He continued to assist others throughout the entire workation.
One of the participants wrote blogs and put Google AdWords links on them. Their website has affiliate links, and they get a small commission when someone clicks on the ads. People who place affiliate links on their web pages get paid by the link page’s owner for each click on the ad. A blog writer needs to know how to do search engine optimization for their website. But to make money with this business model, you have to get many people to visit the website and click on the affiliate link because the pay-per-click is low. Before you get a decent amount of money, you need a lot of clicks!
So, what else did we do during the workation?
A workation is like being in a mastermind group, or what is known as a brain trust, as some people call it. It comprises people who support each other, share the same values, and want to reach the same goals. During my workation, everyone’s goal was to improve their business skills. We also wanted to learn how to make the most of the freedom that comes with being a digital nomad. So, we talked about travel tips, where to go, possible visa problems, and other things. But we were all there mainly to share business ideas and tips. We talked about how we ran our businesses and devised ways to improve, implement, and make them work better. We also gave each other plenty of suggestions for seminars, which I’ll discuss in another chapter.
In a workation, everyone benefits from learning from each other. You might wonder: If we copied each other, wouldn’t that eventually lead to the same business model and put us in competition? The short answer to that is, “In general… yes.” But if you learn from someone else, you’re likely to make a lot of copy errors, which aren’t mistakes at all but rather ways to show your personality. Your business will never be exactly the same as someone else’s. Your personality will always shine through, and that’s a good thing.
Let’s say you copy a real estate agent’s idea and business model, but you don’t even like that business model. Realistically, your real estate business will not operate the same way as his since you will see yours only as a soulless money-making machine. This won’t fulfill you long-term because you’re not doing what you’re passionate about and working against your values. Because this business operates in a way you don’t appreciate, sooner or later, it will cause burnout for you. My health deteriorated when I got burned out shortly after starting Rooms4Music. Remember, if you’re starting a business, you’ll have to put in a lot of work initially. You’ll always lose energy unless your business reflects your passion or values. However, you have the opportunity to work more or less permanently if you know your passion, know your values, and align your business with them. In my experience, if you’re passionate about your business, you’ll be in flow roughly 80% of the time; if you’re in flow, it doesn’t cost you any energy—it gives you more energy!
How do digital nomads create services, process customer requests, and sell them?
One of the digital nomads sold his services on freelancer.com, a site for people who work for themselves and let others hire them. People who buy his service give him their work to do.
There are other places where people can order services besides freelancer.com. Fiverr.com is a good example. On Fiverr, you can buy services from a large number of different experts. Fiverr lets you order a wide range of services, such as search engine optimization, graphic design, image processing, advertising, translation, web page creation, and automation services.
Most people offering services on these freelancer websites are from low-cost countries in Asia. This means that their services are usually pretty cheap. When you order services from Asia and your business is in a high-priced Western country, you get a good margin on the work being done for your business.
Now listen to me carefully because I need to warn you: many of the services on Fiverr are of very low quality! If you want to give work to Fiverr sellers, I suggest you order about 5 test gigs with the same requirement. Pick the ones with many good reviews, even if they are often very busy and don’t give your order their full attention.
Or you could give new sellers a chance! With new sellers without many reviews, you might find highly motivated people with good availability. However, if they have a few reviews, read them, and if they are unrealistically positive, you may want to take a closer look. However, if you consider the reviews fake, don’t order from them! If you trust your intuition, you’ll find out who works well for you. Your feelings about it will help you get to know good services and the results you want. This way, you can hire the right people for your business and use their services as needed.
I would recommend the same thing if you were still an employee. You should agree with your boss that you’ll be paid for the results you produce, not by the hour. But in many situations, western workers usually expect to be paid by the hour. If you pay them by the hour and can’t keep them busy, they are just sitting around doing nothing for you while still getting paid. So, paying only for results and using freelancing websites is a smart way to reduce employee costs and keep work costs low by incurring costs only when work is required...
Some lessons learned from the experience at the workation
My main takeaway from experience is that sharing knowledge is a great way to improve your business and personal skills. See, it was a good way to broaden my travel horizons. During the exchange of travel tips and experiences of living as a digital nomad, we learned what countries to visit and where the best spots are.
Copying is not prohibited at a workation. I strongly recommend that you copy the ideas of others because you have proof that the concept works. You do not need to worry that your business will turn out the same as the business you’re learning from. It’s because you will always make mistakes, and these mistakes reflect your personality. Furthermore, you will always seek to improve the presented ideas. In this way, you inject more of your personality into your business. I’m sure you understand now that the more personality you put into your business, the better, do you? Ensure that you copy the idea in a way that is aligned with your values and passions.
When trying to get your business to where it needs to be, outsource any tasks or duties you don’t like to Fiverr, a specialist, or even a supplier. For example, if you run a business with your warehouse and send your products yourself to the customer but you hate packing, shipping, and invoicing, consider using Amazon’s fulfillment service. You can send your products to their warehouses, and they can handle everything you dislike. Your only concern will be finding products. If your passion is to source high-quality, in-demand products with high margins, I strongly advise using this business model.
However, my advice here would be to source only what is in demand. You will always be able to meet your customers’ needs as long as you love your customers more than your product. It is common for self-employed people or entrepreneurs to only source products they are passionate about. Can you see how this results in them loving their products more than their customers? Yes! You end up chasing customers all the time! Over time, if you constantly chase money and work against your values and main passion, you will burn out sooner or later.
Burnout is a terrible thing to experience. It takes a lot of energy out of your body. I’ve been through it, and it is a pretty horrible feeling. I will explain how I got sick, how I realized what was going on, and who helped me overcome it, and later, in detail, I will reveal how I made my passion my business.
As a digital nomad, you can choose to live in a low-cost country abroad. The most important benefit is that you can reach financial protection, financial security, and financial freedom much faster if you still provide your service in a high-cost country. It is a very unique and relaxing feeling to be able to achieve that. Later, I’ll go into more detail about what financial security, financial protection, and financial freedom mean. It’s more or less the material side of abundance.
If you live in a low-tax country abroad, you might also be able to get some tax breaks and tax benefits. Moving to a country with low tax rates can be a big step, and there are usually two ways to do it. The first way is to go through the immigration process, which is typically hard and takes a long time. The other option is that some countries have programs that let you get a passport if you invest there. You can apply for local residency with that passport, register your business or first residence there, and terminate your residence in your home country. You can avoid taxes in your home country this way.
Further, it is possible to have no residence at all. Then no state can apply taxes to your personal income. But this is a tricky process with many side effects, which has to be well thought out... And, of course, your business will be taxed in the country where it is registered.