A lot of people have asked us about how we are making money while we are travelling. And our answer always was: we don’t know yet, it is one big experiment and we are still learning whether it is luck or our talents that bring us our jobs. Of course we had some ideas but we wanted to have tested our own ideas thoroughly before sharing them here with you. Today, after almost 20 months of living this lifestyle, we have better idea of how we make money and thus how you can too. Although we believe we would rather live without thinking about money at all by simply trading for our skills, this is still quite hard. So these are six simple steps to make money while living a nomadic lifestyle:
1. Get your online profiles right This sounds easier than it looks. Because if you want to be consistent about who you are, why you are doing what you are doing and where you are in this world that is already hard. Now imagine doing this over all these channels: LinkedIn, About.me, personal Twitter, personal Facebook, personal blog, travel blog, lifestyle blog, travel Twitter, travel Facebook page, lifestyle Twitter, personal Slideshare, etc. But believe me, it is worth the effort and when you are consistent from the start it is a lot easier to manage. The big advantage of having all these channels setup properly is that no matter where or how people will find you, they will find what you want them to find. One important rule is that ‘people need to be reminded more than they need to be instructed’. Which basically means that your information doesn’t have to be exactly the same across all your online channels, it has to be consistent and coming from the same starting point. Please verify our story by clicking some of our profiles and check your own if you want to be successful at making money while you are traveling.
2. Learn the local language (and culture) We have decided upfront that we wanted to work on local projects as well and to do that you have to speak the local language. This was reason for us to pick Central and Latin America because once you have learned spanish, you can talk with almost everybody (except in Brasil of course, but we will learn portuguese as well once we are there). Diana was already quite fluent but I had to work hard to learn spanish but it paid off! So far we have had around ten profitable local clients in Mexico varying from a language institute to a beautiful hotel to an adventure company and more. For all of these projects it was really important that we understood the language but also the habits of doing business (and they are quite different from Holland). So before you pick your country or your route, think about which languages you know / want to learn and once you are there, think about the cultural differences.
3. Embrace your first real customer Our first real customer in Mexico was Chris. Chris owns the beautiful hotel baXar in Pie de la Cuesta, Acapulco where we will get married in December. He was the one who offered to us our first project: three months of summer school at his hotel. During these three months we created his new webpage, taught english to his staff, took thousands of pictures, made two videos. Chris (both passively and actively) has helped us out after that with so many different things. Sometimes he introduced us to new potential clients but most of the times we could use the things we did for him as a showcase for new mexican clients we found. Quite recently somebody actually found us (our website is in the footer of his website) and we now have our first mexican client whom we have never met but on skype. So embrace you first customer, share this story and the experience and use it as proof of what you can and are willing to do. @Chris: we are very grateful for the opportunities that you have given us and still are and we love working with you, thank you!
4. Hustle, hustle, hustle Working while travelling means that you have to stretch your own boundaries. Sometimes you have to make people believe you can do things that you actually cannot (yet). To put in other words: you have to hustle! By doing this, we have acquired numerous jobs that actually helped us shape our skills. We learned a lot about animations, video, photography etc by saying (and believing) that we could do certain things. When you have to live up to a promise you made, you are much more dedicated, creative and involved because our mission is to always, always, always, deliver what we promise. Sometimes this means we need some help from outside people (Bart E, Remy E, Joost B and Frank B. you are our heroes) or resources (we love www.lynda.com and of course good old fashioned Google:)).
5. Experiment with everything
You can read about a lot of different ways of making money online or while you are travelling. We are not into advertising, publishing, telemarketing or these kind of things. We do experiment a lot with different things to see what could be a reliable source of income. We have had a webshop, we are selling e-manuals for worpdress and sold pictures on istockphoto and they were not our most fortunate ventures. We learned a lot though true these experiments.
Our latest project is a bootcamp for Travelling Entrepreneurs in Mexico. Somewhere in October we started out with a webpage about the lessons from our lifestyle called Working Wonderfully and our goal was to teach people how to work more from their passion and talent on meaningful things. We thought it would be crazy to see if people would actually come to Mexico for a bootcamp and to learn all the beautiful things about our lifestyle. And it worked: two people have booked a ticket and are coming and five more are still in the process of deciding. But with two people confirmed, this is already a big success! (p.s. if you want to join us in August, check out the great program that we have created: http://www.wonderlijkwerken.nl/traveling-entrepreneurship-isla-holbox-mexico/)
6. Think about your hook
A hook is something that people will either remember you by or approach you for. We have stumbled upon our hook by accident: our bus. The number of conversations that we have had thanks to our bus that got us a actual job or lead are numerous. So many people approach us because they love the bus and want to hear more about her and the people who drive her. This is our hook to share our story and inspire people with the way we live and the projects we do (don’t want to brag here, just stating a fact as we witness it a lot). So think about what makes you unique or what you can do to create your hook. (Tip: the book The Game is a great example of how hooks work in the great art of seduction, we have it and are willing to share:)).
Hopefully these six steps will help you on your way to becoming a travelling entrepreneur or make money in the way that you desire. If you have any questions or remarks about this, please let us know in the comments!