You want to work remotely and travel; or maybe stay at home with the kids but still earn a real income. Welcome to Compass, where we talk with location independent womxn about finding work and getting paid. Each episode focuses on one woman, their story, and what you can take away to create your own location independent life. Subscribe to receive new episodes every Tuesday, and get one step closer to finding your direction.
Phon Baillie, Proofreader
Phon Baillie enjoyed proofreading before she knew it was a job. After graduating university and later publishing school, Phon then went out on her own to become a freelance proofreader. You can find Phon on her site artofproofreading.com, where you can sign up for a free five day course or join her free masterclass.
Building your network builds your business. While it may not come easy for all of us, having a wide and solid network gives us a better footing for finding clients. Think about it, the more people who know you and what you do, the more likely one of them will either need your services or recommend you to someone who does. And for Phon, this was how she found her first clients.
Phon devotes time to marketing to keep her income stable. Whether you're bringing in new clients or reminding former ones that you're available to meet their needs, a steady stream of requests creates a steady stream of income. what are some ways you can reach out to new and former clients?
For full links and show notes, visit compasspod.com/055
Chrystabelle, Messenger Bot Marketer
We talk about university on the show for a couple of reasons. I think we need the reminder that for those of us who attended university, most don't end up working in the field we studied, but we can bring things we learned into what we do now. Also, we don't need to have gone to university to do well in life and in entrepreneurship. Instead of heading to study, Chrystabelle took a year off and then set herself up in an internship and worked her way up. A note here: in some countries, like the US, there are specific legal requirements for something to be considered an internship. In these cases, I think we might apply the word 'apprenticeship' more accurately. Either way, Chrystabelle created her own arena for learning and you can too.
Chrys Media, Chrystabelle's company is her third venture. She set up two businesses that didn't work out, first. We need to remember that we may not find our exact right work the first time around. That also doesn't mean we need to give up and start filling out job applications. Had Chrystabelle walked away after her first failed business, or her second, she wouldn't be living the life she has now. Have faith in yourself and your ability to figure out what's next for you.
Competing on price is a race to the bottom, every time. You get little money and clients who often try to take advantage. Instead, think about what you offer, what makes you different and build your business, your reputation around that. No one else is you, we don't think or create just like you. It may feel easy or obvious to you, but know that your way of doing things is important for your business.
For full links and show notes, visit compasspod.com/053
Arpine Ayvazyan, Product Designer
This was a new one for me and it's great. Arpine became location independent so that she could earn a European income but spend as much time as she wants in Armenia, with her friends and family. This is the reverse of what we tend to think of with countries with a lower average wage, which is to hire for cheap. Just because you come from a lower average wage country, doesn't mean you're limited to those expectations. You can use the internet to level the playing field, just like Arpine did.
As a service provider, what do you do when the client relationship isn't working for you? For a long time, Arpine felt like she couldn't walk away. And you don't want to unnecessarily burn any bridges, but you do have the right to end a business relationship that isn't working. You can find a way to approach the client with clarity and a fair way out for both of you. If they react poorly, then you're better off having left anyway.
Do you have a product in mind, but don't want to waste materials working up samples? What about taking that extra step to see that your product has a second or even third life once it's first use is over? These ideas are possible and happening right now with product design. You can build sustainability into your design without ever casting a mold. What possibilities are popping into your head?
For full links and show notes, visit compasspod.com/052
Lili Tanis, On-camera Coach
This is one that many of us go through, especially if we're extraverts. You go from having an office full of colleagues to bounce ideas around with and share downtime chatting to being all on your own. Pretty quickly it becomes obvious that something is missing. There are meetups and coworking, and some days when it's less the need for interaction and more about just having the bustle of people around there are coffee shops. Finding the right mix is very personal and it will probably take time to get the right set up for you.
Working without an office makes it easy for work to leak into our personal lives, even more so when we're alone in a new place and enjoy what we do. Making time for hobbies and personal time becomes even more important now. What do you love to do? What makes you feel better? How can you structure your week to support you, and not just your business?
We've talked about this a bit with Dr. Sonia Jaeger, pricing is very region-specific. When Lili is in the US market, she's able to look at the competitive field and see where her pricing falls. In France, it's not so simple. There is a lower cost of living and what she does is new. This means she's the one creating the frame of reference and at the same time needs to take into account the local levels of disposable income. It takes a bit of trial and error, but one thing remains true, womxn tend to underprice ourselves. Unless you know you are at the top of your market, take your price and add 20%.
For full links and show notes visit compasspod.com/051
Tamar Levi, Children's Book Illustrator
Starting early, Tamar started investing any money that wasn't put towards immediate needs. Over time this built up as a way of supporting her art through residual income, giving her a freedom to focus her art when it wasn't yet paying bills. Is this something you can start? Putting away a little extra a month and letting it grow over time?
You know what you want to do and with that in mind, you can create your own personal 'curriculum' for learning about business. Do you need to study marketing, or perhaps fulfillment? Not only are there a massive variety of online courses out there, but depending on where you live, there may well be in-person classes and support.
As people who move around often, or even just work from home, building a network can be tricky. We don't have office colleagues or watercooler talk. We do have a ton of online groups and in many cases Meetup groups. Building support systems through our interests and travels is simplest if we reach out first. It takes more work and takes time, but we can set ourselves up for success when we start building a supportive framework.
For full links and show notes visit compasspod.com/050
Kate Birtch, Rental Property Insurance
We are part of a global economy, and one that is shifting. Does your schedule mean working with someone in another timezone makes more sense? Are you okay working with someone whose native language isn't the same as yours if it means a better quality product or a better time frame? Will you choose a provider with a lower asking price if it means a time zone lag? We have a lot of questions to answer if we're going to make our best choices in the world of international hires.
As digital nomads, it's easy to feel alone, and this goes for our business lives as much as it does our personal ones. The answer in both cases is reaching out, building a network. Interact, offer help, answer questions, and when you need it, ask for help. Since we're often on the move, online groups can be the best place to start. I love Digital Nomad Girls, Female Digital Nomads, and She Hit Refresh.
I love our pricing discussions because so many of us have no idea where to start. Kate talked about how in insurance, pricing is tied to coverage, but that she likes to add value as well. And it got me thinking, how can we add value to our products and services without adding work to our day. Is it in the way interacting with us allows our clients to feel? Is it in a product we can create once and send as a bonus to our loyal clients? What can we do and create that make the experience of working with us an even better choice?
For full links and show notes, visit compasspod.com/049