Companies are increasingly adapting to employees working remotely. Some entrepreneurs have taken the fate of their location into their own hands in order to do what they love, where ever they love to do it.
We asked #digitalnomads to share how they make remote lifestyles work for them. At IdeaMensch, we are particularly passionate about empowering individuals to find location-independent careers because, after years of corporate and nonprofit work, our IdeaMensch team is entirely remote. One of us is a CMO, one of us is a fundraising consultant, and one of us raises chickens – doing what we love, where we love to do it.
The entrepreneurs featured below share information about their company, advice on how to make a remote lifestyle work, and what technology they love to use to make it all possible.
Dustin Heiner, Founder of Master Passive Income
His company: Master Passive Income is a real estate investing website that teaches people how to invest in real estate. After just 8 years investing in real estate, he had enough money to quit his job. At age 37, he quit his job and now teaches others how to become financially independent and never need to work a job again. He shares all his experiences, successes and failures, on his blog, best-selling books, podcast, courses, etc. He wrote a best-selling book called “How to Quit Your Job with Rental Properties”, as well. With his real estate business, he only works about 1 hour a month and allows his automatic business run on its own by employing others to do the work.
His advice: “Buy [your] first rental property. If you buy one rental property that makes you $250 in cash flow every single month, that is $250 more in your pocket too spend on whatever you like. Once you have that first property, you will understand the value of having a real estate business. You will see that if you had 10 properties making $250 a month you would be making $2,500 a month! With rental properties, the sky is the limit.”
His technology recommendation for remote work: “Evernote is fantastic because it organizes all my notes as well as keeps them forever. Now I will always be able to go back and search for whatever note that I needed even if it was 5 years ago.”
Kristen Slizgi, Founder of The Luxury Travelist
Her company: The Luxury Travelist is a travel consulting company that focuses on planning and executing affordable luxury trips. When Kristen moved to Nicaragua to work in marketing and PR, her passion for travel and exploring deepened. Kristen is a firm believer that life should not be lived in one place and has been jumping from place to place ever since, with no plans of slowing down. Kristen sees a “travelist” as someone who wants to fully experience the culture and people found in a new place; a person who is eager to learn, to be inspired, to deepen the soul, enlighten the spirit and refreshen the mind. Through The Luxury Travelist, she plans trips for people who want to comfortably dive into cultural experiences.
Her advice: “Have a side hustle! My favorite author Elizabeth Gilbert…encourage[s] her clients to NOT quit their day job to pursue their passion. She found that creative people focus solely on their passion/mission, only to starve for a couple of years, then give up and grow resentful towards it…[Have] a financial plan to support your evolution as artists.”
Her technology recommendation for remote work: “HARO (Help A Reporter Out). This service sends over daily inquiries from journalists around the world looking for topics, suggestions, and services from other journalists. It’s a great way to be apart of the community but also read about trending topics in travel before they come out.”
Gil Gildner, Co-Founder of Discosloth
His company: Discosloth is a marketing startup that revamps the way businesses pay for digital advertising. Discosloth passed a million dollars in ad spend during their first year, gaining dozens of clients in every continent (except Antarctica!) Prior to starting Discosloth with his partner, Anya, he freelanced as an international photojournalist and creative director. They were tired of digital marketers taking themselves entirely too seriously and wanted something ridiculous and brandable. So they created Discosloth and even have a neon pink dancing sloth as their mascot.
His advice: “Keep on going. One of the faults of today’s lean startup thought process is that many founders give up too soon. Things worth doing don’t happen overnight. We started Discosloth a year ago. It was two months before we even made a sale. Last week, we just passed a million dollars in managed ad spend.”
His technology recommendation for remote work: “If it wasn’t for Google Docs, I don’t think our company would exist.”
Andrew Lee Miller, Founder of AndrewStartups
His company: Andrew has been working remotely from 10-15 countries per year through his own Startup Marketing consultancy, AndrewStartups. After working full-time as Head of Marketing for 3 back-to-back startups that sold for millions, Andrew committed fully to Digital Nomad life on the road, now working exclusively with a few select companies at a time as he travels. In the past 6 months, he’s lived and worked from Nigeria, Thailand, Sri Lanka, UAE, Hong Kong and Kenya. Andrew noticed a lot of consistent growing pains with startups, and the lack of honesty and drive with agencies, along with the lack of speed and efficiency in hiring full-time in house staff. This led him to create AndrewStartups, providing in-house marketing consulting services.
His advice: “Be honest, and [don’t try] to help everyone. I’m picky, I only work with projects that I’m truly passionate about and that’s enabled me to close 75% of the proposals I send out…but I only send out a few a year. I don’t want another job, I want another opportunity to succeed and grow together.”
His technology recommendation for remote work: “There’s a little-known app called FocusZen. Download it, it will change your life. It has 60 min loops of a few audio tracks that are designed to make you zone out and fully focus on work. It works, I lose track of 3-4 hours when writing….it’s incredible.”
Erica Medina-Stanulis, Founder of Follow the Sun
Her company: Follow the Sun is a result of Erica’s deep commitment to integrating environmental connection and conservation into the workplace and daily life. She shifted towards global systemic issues after witnessing tourist pollution in Morocco and Indonesia. This experience became the inspiration to shift her career towards global solutions for the preservation of our environment. She combines her organizational background with Nature-based wisdoms like Biomimicry and Ayurveda to serve both corporate and nonprofit clients and use it as a basis for her coaching business. She uses Nature as a guide, a mentor and as an inspirational voice to her clients for problem-solving or career coaching.
Her advice: “I spent time getting clear on my service offerings. After that, I was consistent about growing my business. Consistency didn’t mean that I wasn’t flexible in changing an approach if it wasn’t working; instead, I showed up every day with the intention to serve others and make a difference.”
Her technology recommendation for remote work: “I love Grammarly. It’s my real-time editor and coach.”
Vincit-Lee Lloyd, Founder of Lloyd Media Solutions
His company: Lloyd Media Solutions is a social media and marketing agency. Vincit-Lee noticed that a lot of the small businesses in Cape Town do not make use of social media at all. Some may have a Facebook page, but they only post on it once every three months. The idea of leveraging social media to generate more revenue is not fully utilized by the micro-to-small businesses in Cape Town and that leaves a huge opportunity for agencies willing to work with the “small guy”.
His advice: “Always give out information for free. People around tend to go crazy with the amount of information or tips I give away for free on social media. Yes, I could make double the amount of money I am currently making by monetizing the information, however, I am in it for the long run. The information I give away for free now will lead to 10x the amount of money in the long run.”
His technology recommendation for remote work: “Later.com for scheduling posts on social media. It helps free up a lot of time that would’ve otherwise been used to physically upload content onto the different social sites.”
Ari S. Goldberg, Founder of RNMKR
His company: RNMKR is an investment firm that applies proven business practices, multiplied by the scale of the internet. After he sold his previous company, StyleCaster, Ari was working on a few different ventures and wanted to pursue all of them. He was confident he had built an algorithm that could accelerate and exponentially grow almost any business, and the only way he could think to package it was to start a venture capital fund that invested primarily in the companies he started. During a meeting with his colleagues, one of them called RNMKR “Amazon for businesses.” Ari has been on the attack ever since.
His advice: “Find problems, and solve them. If the problem is big enough, and there are enough people with that same problem, it could be a huge company. But, don’t hope for it; work for it, keep your mouth shut, and do whatever it takes to get it done.”
His technology recommendation for remote work: “Slack. Our entire company works within Slack, and now I have a rule that there are no internal company emails. Everything goes through Slack, and there is no more delay with email.”
Serena Scanzillo, Founder of SerenaFit
Her company: Serena is a fitness professional and entrepreneur, having ten plus years experience in the wellness industry. She provides clients and subscribers with wellness services that show how fitness can be part of your everyday life no matter what. Her feature service is the virtual studio she’s created and leads online workouts with a team of three other coaches to clients from all over the world.
Her advice: “Time block. There are WAY too many distractions around us. If you don’t lock things down and focus on the task at hand, things will become disorganized. We don’t ever want to feel like we’ve wasted time – time blocking helps to remedy that. Set a timer for 25 minutes and close all windows on your computer. It’s about working smarter, not harder.”
Her technology recommendation for remote work: “MailChimp. I’m able to organize important information that clients and subscribers need to know about. I can automate emails so I don’t have to repeat myself and waste time on creating the same thing over and over again. I can save templates, collect data and direct people to my website to hopefully get my brand out to the masses!”
Emil Jimenez, CEO & CCO of Passion Communications
His company: Passion Communications was started in 2009 as part of Emil’s dream of building a branding empire. Emil has has created a division of Passion Communications focused on creating and promoting their own branded products for sale within the EU and US markets. The idea for Passion Communications came from the fact that life is to short and you should do what you are passionate about. To make his company successful, he likes to get to the core of the product truth – who made it, why, and what does it do. Then, he visualizes the client experience and define what this brands mean in a person’s life. This somehow starts to define the branding which leads us to how Passion Communications tell the brand story online and with marketing collateral.
His advice: “Be honest. We have always told our clients the truth no matter what the situation. Sometimes our recommendations were not well received but at least we presented to them our honest opinions without any ulterior motives.”
His technology recommendation for remote work: “Hubspot. With this platform, I can manage many aspects of my business from sales, marketing, CRM, etc. It is a great tool so I can get a quick overview of our sales pipeline.”
Are you interested in sharing your story on IdeaMensch? Visit ideamensch.com/interview to learn more.
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.