A digital nomad’s life

Nick, Jeff and Zac show how they went from getting their university degree… to quickly create a 6-figure online marketing agency. All of this done by running online advertisements for other local businesses and doing webinars on how to become successful in what you do as a digital nomad. After being becoming tired by the traditional 9 to 5 jobs, they decided to give their dream a chance to succeed!

Zac 32 years-old, Jeff 26 years-old and Nick 24 years-old

Meet’Her Can you explain how you became a digital nomad?

We met 6 years ago in a university in Canada and we were trying to find a way to pay for our school fees. We all wanted to travel, but one thing we got frustrated with was the amount of debt we had from school. The three of us started painting companies in the summer time. We reached the point where our companies got bigger and bigger and allowed us to pay off all our school debts. We kept it for a while until we got sick of it.

We learned a lot back then and included our skills we got from building those companies in what we do today.

How did you make this shift from running a successful Canadian company to a digital nomads’ life?

We used to think about Jim Carrey’s quote: “You can always fail at what you don’t love… so, you might as well take a chance on what you do love.”

It took a while to actually realize that we were pretty successful at something we did not really like, and that it was in some ways more dangerous to succeed at what you didn’t like than to fail at what you didn’t like because success makes it much harder to leave. 

So why not try something we really liked?

We decided to look at what we really wanted to do. We used to think about having an unlimited credit card and asking ourselves what we would do with it. We all came to the same conclusion: that we would travel and build a business at the same time. 

What is your role in the company? 

I (Zac) am in charge of the educational structure of things. Jeff does the sales and social media and Nick does the marketing and tech. 

How would you define a digital nomad?

People mix up digital nomad with people who are just taking a long vacation. What makes us digital nomads is that we have a career that allows us to be wherever we want, whenever we want. We wanted to work while travelling and we still have the ambition to move and not stay in Canada while making money. We don’t necessarily do business where we go (which is the best part) and are easily able to maintain a company while travelling. 

The digital nomad lifestyle is most certainly not for everyone. But for those people who think they can’t do this, it’s not as hard as they may think! Everything you do in your day to day doesn’t stop, you just organize things like the gym, laundry, cooking differently than you used to; but you do need to change things up. 

 There is a quote we really like, “the price of your new life is your old life”. If that resonates with you, and you want to start a new life, you’ll have to give up some things; perhaps the hours you spend on watching Netflix, or the evenings spent at your local pub. 

This is generally how moving forward works, because the only real constant in life is change, but you need to be active in deciding what changes those are. 

What is your daily routine if there is any? 

We usually work 4 to 5 days a week. We get up and have our coffee. Here in Bali we swim in the pool and then work usually 3 to 4 hours every day. Right now, for instance we’re build a course to explain people how to be a successful digital nomad.  Usually our day to day involves working with clients, making the campaigns are working well and chatting with new clients. 

Early morning meeting in Bali

But to ask how much do you work and when are you working is not always a good question because sometimes working does not feel like ‘work’. We like 80% of what we do and understand that there is always the 20% that no one likes. The catch is to not have those percentages the other way around.

We definitely don’t party all the time, but we all have different hobbies and we manage to have some time off for them. But if a good party comes out on Tuesday, we just work on Saturday instead!

What is your strategic vision of the company now?

We are very interested in sitting in the online educational world right now. Sitting in a classroom and listening to someone talking for 2 hours seems a little bit archaic to us. We think that schools are going to make a shift. Some have started already. We believe that instruction is more important that the information in this day in age.  Anybody can check the information. However, what to do with that information and how to properly apply it, that’s the real challenge!

What are your webinars about?

The most interesting part about the painting companies we ran was about how to run a successful company rather than being the best painter out there. People start a business, they run it for a year and then think it’s impossible, it’s getting too hard. They thought they would be successful within a year or so. What we learned is that there is a process attached to it. If you get up every day, put your pants on, talk to 5 people every day, it will somehow work sooner or later. So, we understood that we just had to figure out the metrics. How many people do we need to talk to? What’s the average number? And then, how to make sure this becomes predictable? Those numbers are what we show to people. What they learn from it is the discipline, the routine, the habits. Excellence is a habit and not an act, what you do consistently to become great at something. So, if you want to start a business, make sure your expectations are accurate. 

How do you deal with competition?

It is the same logic that goes along with selling burgers, you have to be a little bit different. Currently the area that we are in is still a blue ocean. When we used to have this company before, our budget for flyers was 20 000 dollars a year, this represents 60 000 flyers. A lot of companies have a massive budget for this and that’s not weird! So, if you look at the last stats in the US and Canada, 18 000 is the number of new businesses created per day! All of these businesses have the same problem. It is not that they don’t have a good idea, they really struggle to get enough people to see their good idea. 

So, having new clients and facing competition is not an issue for us today. 

What do you like the most about your digital nomad’s life?

The bucket lists. You appreciate little things way more when you are travelling a lot. We like to localize and we came to the point where we realized that the world is our home, and we have the chance to see a lot of it. 

We love the freedom as well. We tend to think that what we like is what we know, but this is not always the case. We can try things that we would have never tried before. This takes away the fear of missing out if one day we decide to settle down in one place – we got to try pretty much everything we wanted.  We also go back to Canada whenever we want. 2 weeks ago, we were skiing there!

And the food of course, we love eating local food!

Do you think the new generation of workers will tend to become digital nomads?

I think the community of Digital Nomads will steadily increase; it has just become more accessible to make money online. However, it will definitely change the way companies are organized. Look at Google, for instance, who gives their employees one day off a week to work on whatever they want to work on.

I think it will be a shift in the way companies work today, giving more and more freedom to the employees to work remotely. It will benefit totally the employees, giving them a sense of freedom and autonomy. 

Where have you been so far?

We’ve been to New York, Costa Rica, Vietnam and now we are in Bali for few months. We try to stay for at least a month or two in every country we’re in. We will go to Malaysia then and maybe Europe after, we’ll see! We don’t plan too far because it can always change!

To have a look at their webinar : this is here !

Or meet them on Facebook here !