There are a number of reasons why people choose to pursue the lifestyle of a digital nomad. Whether you want to travel and see the world or whether you want to break out of the 9-to-5 grind, being a digital nomad affords you certain freedoms.
Before you jump into this laptop lifestyle though, some planning should be involved. There are a few things you can do to help you on your quest to become a digital nomad.
Simplify Your Life
When you think of a nomad in the traditional since, you think of a person who travels from place to place. Owning many possessions isn’t something nomads are known for. So if you have a house full of things and you’re serious about making the transition, you might want to start thinking about simplifying your life as much as possible.
An important part of becoming a digital nomad is getting rid of unnecessary baggage and expenses. When I first started my journey, I gave up my car and all things that I didn’t view as essential. It was a gradual process. You’ll want to be honest with yourself about what things are necessary and what you can give up. If you envision yourself traveling to different countries months at a time, do you really need that gym membership, magazine subscription, or Sam’s Club membership?
Don’t worry if you feel overwhelmed. Having many prized possessions can do that to you. Take baby steps. Two things that were really difficult for me to give up were my television and Vitamix. I actually tried to figure out a way to bring them with me. How crazy was that?
When it comes to simplifying your life, that includes your spending habits. Cutting down on your spending will not only save you money but will help keep unnecessary items out of your house that you’ll eventually need to give up anyway. When you’re traveling in countries where a dollar goes a long way and living is cheap, you’ll appreciate having more money in the bank.
Freelance or Start An Online Business
Consider your skills and how you can carry them into online work. Writing, design, editing, and software development are common skills that lend themselves to freelance or remote work. Joining a freelancing community will expose you to work opportunities and resources used by other location independent entrepreneurs.
If you want to start your own online business but don’t have the confidence to leave your 9-to-5 job right away, you can try to get remote freelance work in your spare time. The point is to establish yourself as a freelancer so it can become a viable source of income. As a digital nomad, you won’t need a ton of money, but you will need a steady amount to get by. If you don’t have a lot of money saved in the bank, traveling without having clients or an established online business can make your life more stressful and the laptop lifestyle nearly impossible.
Consider the Logistics
If you already have health insurance, double check that you’ll be covered while you’re in other countries. If your health insurance doesn’t cover you while you’re abroad, you should consider travel insurance that is specifically for digital nomads. One insurance company that I absolutely love, and am also an affiliate for, is World Nomads. Depending on your needs, their comprehensive insurance plans could cover some combination of dental, emergency health, trip cancellation, delays, lost luggage, tech and gear and the list goes on.
Research the country, city or town you want to travel to before you go. Find decent lodging, whether it’s an affordable bed and breakfast or other reasonably priced place to stay. You’ll want to feel comfortable and safe in the place you’ll be lodging, so thoroughly look into the neighborhood you plan on residing in, especially if you plan on staying there for at least a few months. Figure out where all the essentials are—hospitals, grocery stores, coffeeshops, metro stops, places of worship, coworking spaces and so on.
Whether you’re traveling domestically or internationally, it’s important to make sure you have the cell phone reception and wifi you need. Consider getting a local SIM card in the area you’ll reside. You may also be able to rely on your cellular network and use your personal hotspot for internet connection if you find yourself without wifi.
Consider Avenues to Diversify Your Income
As an online business owner, I can tell you that it’s crucially important to diversify your income by building multiple streams of income. Passive income can make life a whole lot easier for a digital nomad, especially at times when work is inconsistent. If you have the money, investments and dividend-yielding stocks might work for you. Others prefer going with something like an E-commerce business. If you already plan on documenting your travels through blogging, Instagram, YouTube, or other social media, placing ads, affiliate links, or sponsorship posts could be a possibility for you.
There are many affiliate marketing programs like Shareasale, of which I am an affiliate, CJ and Amazon affiliates just to name a few.
Digital Nomads Still Need a Schedule
It’s important to schedule your time, even as a digital nomad. Schedule time for work and time for leisure. That way you can stay productive and also enjoy your leisure time exploring your new environment.
Maintaining a work-life balance will make your new lifestyle more sustainable. Letting work take over leisure time will create stress, and failing to block out consistent work time will affect your productivity. Make goals and give yourself deadlines to meet so you can make progress on your work.
Becoming a digital nomad can seem like a big, intimidating change. But if you’re really interested in the lifestyle, there are steps you can take to make the transition easier and to minimize stress. And if you do eventually decide to settle down, you can still stick to freelancing instead of returning to an office job because of the work you did as a digital nomad.
Many people confuse brand personality with brand values. While these two compliment each other, they are not the same. Brand values are the things your brand stands for, whether it be transparency or quality, or innovation, etc. These are the principles that your brand is determined to uphold.
A brand personality is similar to that of a person’s. It is the combination of human characteristics or qualities that form the brand’s distinctive character. A brand’s personality influences how consumers feel about the brand and has the power to attract consumers and make their experience with the brand memorable. These qualities should be consistent across all mediums and platforms in order to be truly effective.
If our relationships with brands so closely mirror those with our fellow humans, shouldn’t we think of brands as people?– Ignyte
There are five main brand personality types to consider when building your own.
Competence evokes reliability, experience, proficiency, skillfulness, and expertise. A tried and true brand like Google is an example of this. Microsoft Office suite used to be the go-to office software for most people. Nowadays, Google Drive seems to be the go-to office software because of it convenience and ease of use. Not to mention the fact that it’s free.
When composing a document on Google Docs, Sheets or Slides, the document is automatically saved as you make changes. Additionally, you can pick up where you left off on any device. If that doesn’t scream reliability and proficiency, I don’t know what does.
Sincerity includes traits such as genuineness, goodwill, and trustworthiness. I personally, think of Whole Foods and Amazon. And it’s no surprise that Amazon decided to acquire Whole Foods in 2017. The Whole Foods brand markets itself as having high quality standards. It prides itself on the vibrant stacks of produce, animal welfare rated meat, responsibly farmed and sustainable wild-caught seafood and body care products with ingredients that consumers can trust. Since what you see is what you get, buyers feel a greater sense of trust toward the brand.
When we think of sophistication, we often think of cultured, refined, elegance and class. Designer brands such as Chanel and Dior are prime examples of a sophisticated brand personality. They exude elegance and status, which draws in customers who are attracted to those traits.
Common traits of excitement are exhilaration, emotion, thrill and enjoyment. Oftentimes, those characteristics are also associated with youth. Universal Parks & Resorts uses thrilling commercials and showcases an image of being joyful with it’s current “Let Yourself Woah” slogan (as of 2020).
Strength, grit, and athleticism are all traits of ruggedness. Recreational Equipment, Inc., commonly known as REI, a company that believes a life outdoors is a life well-lived, serves as a good example of ruggedness. REI, sells sporting goods, camping gear, travel equipment, and clothing.
Now that we’ve defined some brand personality types and traits, how can you build your own brand personality?
Know Your Demographic
Once you’ve figured out what your passion is, you need to develop it into a brand. An essential part of building your brand is knowing who the brand is for. Your brand’s personality should cater to the customer. Who is your product or service for, and what will they find attractive? Identify who your average consumer is and what they are like and build a personality that’s relatable to them. A good brand personality should connect emotionally with the customer.
Old Spice, for example, uses ruggedness to appeal to their demographic of young men. The face of their brand, the Old Spice guy, is typically an attractive, muscular man. The brand uses what are viewed as traditionally masculine traits to appeal to its consumers. The Old Spice guy is aspirational—he’s suave, he’s fit, and he’s manly. While the people who use Old Spice tend to be young men, the brand has also strategically tried to attract women with campaigns like “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like,” since women are more likely to do household shopping.
Brand personality traits provide a general idea of how to reach your target demographic, but make sure to really zero in on who your customer is.
For example, once you’ve identified your target as millennial women, consider the fact that millennials have increasingly expressed interest in a brand’s values and authenticity. Love Beauty and Planet, Unilever’s personal care brand that launched in 2017, targets socially aware millennials. The brand markets vegan and cruelty-free products that are environmentally conscious at a time when interest in natural products is growing.
Differentiate Your Brand Personality From the Competition
When developing a brand personality, take stock of your competition. A good way to build a successful brand personality is by capitalizing on what makes you different from other brands in your market.
Let’s re-examine the brand Love Beauty and Planet. Many personal care brands exist, such as Dove, Pantene, and the like. Additionally, other natural and cruelty-free products exist, but at a higher price. However, the brand’s target audience will trust it more because of its commitment to vegan, cruelty-free, and environmentally conscious practices. Its brand personality emphasizes these qualities in a way competitors at the same price don’t.
An effective brand personality extends to a brand’s design and behavior. Most people can easily identify an Apple product by its once-bitten apple logo. And like the logo, the design of the product is simple, clean, and sophisticated.
A brand’s behavior on social media influences the way people see it. A small, trendy jewelry store might utilize Instagram because visual platforms work particularly well for jewelry. It gives the brand a chance to convey the glamour and sophistication of its products.
The way a brand interacts with customers on social media can increase its appeal as well. For example, customers notice when a brand cares about their experience with a product or service and can sense that sincerity in social media interactions.
Building an effective brand personality is essential to attracting loyal customers. Customers who feel a connection with your brand will stay with you. By knowing your demographic, differentiating yourself from the competition, and staying consistent, you can develop a successful brand personality.
A Facebook business page can help you get greater visibility for your business. More consumers are turning to Facebook to find businesses, and you can tell them a lot about yourself through this opportunity. The goal is for people to ‘like’ your page so that they can follow what’s going on with the enterprise. Here are a few tips to help you build a strong page.
High Resolution Images
High-resolution images will ensure that you have great photos showing up across your Facebook page. Otherwise, you run the risk of too much grain. According to Social Report, “it’s important to use an image size guide so you know what the desired resolution is for the different areas where you will be posting. A standard page post employs a different size than your cover image. Without using the right size, you could end up with some less-than-desirable cropping.”
Below are the recommended video and image sizes for Facebook 2019. Having the correct image dimensions will save you a lot of aggravation in the long run.
The images that you use should tell a story. Whenever possible, use real photos of customers, employees or products as opposed to stock photos. They’re more authentic, and they’ll help with your brand perception.
Engage Regularly on Your Facebook Business Page
It’s important that you don’t appear as though you have no interest in your own business. After all, if you can’t bother to post, why should people bother to follow you?
According to Podium, “four simple, yet highly effective, ways you can engage are: Post at the right time, incorporate more videos, ask customers what they think, and try going live.” If you don’t have a lot of time, you can schedule your content to post automatically. You might also consider hiring a social media manager.
Regular engagement can be extremely helpful since it will show that your Facebook page is active. This can also ensure that your posts are visible to more of your followers.
Change Up the Content
Your content doesn’t have to be in the same format post after post. Instead, change the basic concept. Create a poll, run a contest, share a photo or video, ask questions and educate. People are more likely to engage with your content (and share it) when they find value in it.
Not everyone will find value in the same content, so you will need different content to appeal to the diverse demographic groups that may access your Facebook business page. According to Social Media Today, “there are plenty of social media content ideas available to keep your posts from growing stagnant. Quizzes and polls are always popular, contests and sweepstakes almost always have high engagement, interactive videos and other content also generally has great ROI.”
Utilize the Facebook Tools
Facebook wants your business page to succeed as much as you do, which is why they have provided you with an array of tools. It’s up to you to use them. First, be sure that you include all the details throughout your page, including a great photo and plenty of information in the ‘About’ section. Use a call-to-action button, too, which can send people to your website or invite them to make an appointment. You can also promote your page by creating an ad, allowing you to generate even more followers. According to Qwaya, “there are many great tools and tool sets that can greatly help in your business progress. Like Facebook Ads, ad scheduler, URL builder, Google analytics, and more!”
A Facebook business page can be one of the best marketing tools you could create. With such an advantage available at no cost, why wouldn’t you use it to engage your audience?
If you need to bring on more people to run your business, then you might wonder what qualities you should look for in candidates. Hard skills, such as computer software and position-specific skills, are big requirements that you should require from independent contractors. But you should also be looking for some soft skills, such as the ability to collaborate with others and take feedback. Here are a few things you should think about when trying to incorporate these qualities into your hiring practices.
How Can Independent Contractors Fit Within Your Business Model?
To hire effectively, you need to know what qualities you’re looking for. Do you want people who are willing to go above and beyond their assignment? Are you looking for candidates who understand how to effectively talk to each other about problems they encounter? Look at the industry that your business is in, and then think about the common struggles you face. This will help you find contract workers who not only meet your current needs but also function as team players within your business.
Communication and Leadership
These two skills are important in all industries. You’re looking for workers who are able to effectively communicate with you and their fellow contractors about problems that arise and how to fix them. You can try to ask questions that will let you know more about their personality, but you can also incorporate a personality test into the interview process.
Emotional intelligence and personality assessments can give insight into candidates’ social skills, empathy levels, reaction to criticism, and honesty. Individuals who work well in teams can be identified in part by highly accurate and validated tests. By assessing a candidate’s personality, you’ll also gain insight into their level of humility and whether or not they’re teachable.
Some independent contractors think that showing confidence and having gumption will get them the job, but don’t be fooled by false confidence. Your best candidates are humble, and that’s what will make them teachable. A desire to learn should be one of the most important qualities that you look for in any candidate for a long-term contract. Real confidence is associated with a person’s ability to admit when he or she has something to learn. These are qualities that are difficult or even impossible to teach, but they’re also essential to working on a team.
Creating a great team is possible, but you want to ensure that you’re starting with the right candidates. One or two negative attitudes can sour the experience for everyone else. Take the time to find candidates who can grow and bring others together.
If you are in need of some guidance and business assistance, consider signing up to one of my consulting packages.
If you have data about your customers, employees, or suppliers then keep reading. Because a new law means that you could be at risk of getting fined up to 20 million euros or just over $23 million USD. And if you’re wondering if the GDPR affects those who live outside the EU. The answer is yes. I’ll explain.
The GDPR stipulations only apply when personal data is collected from an individual person who is located in an EU country at the time the data is collected.
It concerns any individual, not just EU citizens. It also does not apply to EU citizens who have their data collected while they are outside of the EU.
What Is The GDPR?
The GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation and is a new law that is now in effect as of Friday, May 25th, 2018. It completely changes how we store and use data and it’s pretty strict. You could be fined up to 20 million euros or just over $23 million USD. So make sure that you’re doing everything necessary in order to be compliant with GDPR.
There is a lot of confusing information out there about GDPR that is vague and full of legal jargon. Most people aren’t sure if they are compliant or if they need to take steps to become compliant. So, I’ve broken down 12 easily understood tips you need to know to make sure you’re compliant.
Why Has The GDPR Come Into Effect?
The reason these new GDPR laws have come about is because the laws were outdated. There’s been a boom of technology with things like the internet and people feel that they’ve lost control of how their data is being used and stored.
Essentially, the GDPR laws are a good thing because it allows people to take back control of what data people and businesses have on them.
To make sure you’re compliant with GDPR, the first thing you need to know is what data you already have on people, which leads me to step number one.
Step One: Organize Your Data
Store all of the data you have on your employees, suppliers, and customers in an organized manner. This is helpful for two reasons, number one, if a person inquires about what information you have on them, you want to be able to access that information and get it to them as quickly and as accurately as possible.
Number two, if you were to ever be investigated by the GDPR, you want to make sure that you’re showing that you know what data you have on everyone.
What Exactly Is Data?
Personal data is any bit of information that you could use on its own or with another bit of information to identify a person. That’ll include their name, phone number, address, photos of them, their IP address, etc. So, make sure you know what data you have on people and identify what they are.
Step Two: Make Sure The Data You Collect Is Safely Secured
Now is the time to consider what measures you have in place to make sure that nobody could leak, hack, or misplace that data. If you’re storing that data digitally, what safety measures could you put in place?
Is the data stored in a virtual cloud that no one could access? Do you have antivirus software on all of your devices? If any of your devices were ever lost or stolen, could you remotely wipe that data so that the data isn’t compromised?
Similarly, if you have hard copies of the data you collect, what are you doing to secure it safely? Is it locked away someplace where no one who isn’t authorized can access that information?
Step Three: Make A Record Of All Safety Measures You Put In Place
It is also necessary to record the safety measures you’ve put in place and the steps you’ve taken along with dates. This is going to make sure that your entire team will all be in the loop and on the same page. Additionally, should you ever be investigated, you’re showing that you’ve already taken necessary precautions.
Step Four: Don’t Hold On To Data You Don’t Need
This is actually a very important step that is apart of the new laws. You can’t hold on to data if you don’t know what you’re going to do with it. You need to be completely clear on why you’ve got someone’s name or email address. So don’t hold onto data with the thought that it could become useful in the future.
Every time somebody hands over a bit of data to you, you want to make sure that they have clear access to your fair processing notice. GDPR has asked that this fair processing notice has no legal jargon that could be ambiguous. So, in clear layman’s terms, state what you will be doing with their information. When writing this document, you want to keep in mind, why you’re collecting the data, how you’ll keep the data safe, and who else besides you will have authorized access to that data.
Step Six: Have A Customer Support System In Place
If someone asks what information you have on them, are you able to easily find and provide it to them?
With the new law, you have to be able to supply people with the information you’ve collected on them. This needs to happen within one month of their request at no cost to them. So make sure you’ve got a process in place that will allow you to quickly provide all information you have on each individual person, should they request that from you.
Step Seven: Have A Process In Place To Delete Data
If someone asks you to delete all their data, you need to be able to do so. If this is requested of you, you must comply, it’s part of the new law. So again, make sure you know where all of the information you have on them is so you can easily wipe it.
Step Eight: Allow People To Positively Opt-In To Your Storing Their Data
When collecting someone’s data for marketing purposes, they must be fully aware of what data you’re collecting and why. They must understand what they are opting into and affirmatively give permission to having their information stored for marketing purposes.
Having a little disclaimer on your opt-in forms that advises people what they are signing up for, is a great way to fulfill this requirement. Additionally, you may wish to implement the double opt-in feature. This will send an email to their inbox and will make them confirm their opt-in by having them click a button that says they confirm to be apart of your mailing list.
When collecting data in person, have people sign a physical opt-in form that expresses their permission to collect and store their data for marketing purposes. However you decide to go about it, have proof that they gave you permission. Having a signed consent form is a great option.
Step Nine: Use A Layered Opt-In Form
A layered opt-in form has a link within the form that leads to more information on how a person’s information will be used. This information is simple and easy to understand and is meant to simply give people a bit more information and a clearer understanding.
Step Ten: Make It Easy For People To Opt Out
When sending marketing emails, make sure you have a clear and obvious unsubscribe button at the bottom. You don’t want a hidden or small printed unsubscribe button. This also applies to text messages, call services, and direct mail services. Make sure people have an easy way out of receiving any marketing texts or phone calls, or postal mail from you.
Also, make sure that you completely remove anyone who requests to be removed. You don’t want to make the mistake of accidentally sending any marketing materials to someone who has opted out. If you are reported you could end up paying a very hefty fine, which you definitely don’t want.
Step Eleven: Make Sure Your Whole Team Is In The Loop
It is of crucial importance that your entire team knows about the new GDPR laws. Consider sending a company-wide email as well as hold a meeting to discuss the laws and answer any questions they may have. It is just as important that your employees are trained and comply with the GDPR because their actions will affect your business.
Step Twelve: Elect A Data Protection Officer (DPO)
Either you or someone on your team should be the designated DPO. A DPO is an enterprise security leadership role required by the GDPR, so make sure you have this in writing. This means that one person will be responsible for enforcing all the steps mentioned and will ensure that these steps are complied with.
Now that you have these steps, if they aren’t in place yet, be sure to start implementing them right away. Now I’ll cover some frequently asked questions that many people seem to have.
Can I still purchase data from third-parties? If so, how will I know that the data I purchase is GDPR compliant?
If you’re thinking about purchasing data, like an email list, make sure the person you’re buying the data from has been GDPR compliant. You also need to make sure that every single person on that list has positively opted in to receive information or have their data stored by a third party.
I want to sell my business. Can I provide the data I’ve acquired from employees, suppliers, and customers to the new business owner?
In this case, you want to have an assignment clause within your fair processing notice. The clause should clearly state that if someone were to buy your business, the new business owner will have all the data you’ve collected. This means they will not only own it but must use it for the same purposes that you had.
Make sure the new owner understands that they can only use the data in the same way and for no other purposes. If the new business owner would like to use the data in a different manner, they would then need to contact everyone again and ask them to positively opt-in for the new purpose.
I’ve collected much data on my customers over the years, am I able to keep everything that I’ve already collected?
With the new laws in place, you now need to make sure that everyone you have information on has not only consented but that you have proof of their consent. Your safest bet is to contact everyone in your existing database. Just explain that the law has changed and that they need to positively opt-in again, in order to continue receiving emails from you.
The easiest option is just to ask everyone to email you back saying, ‘yes, I’m fine with that.’ How you choose to go about it is entirely up to you, just know that it is necessary.
I hope that you’ve found these steps useful. Just as a small disclaimer, I’m not legally trained. The information I’ve provided is simply my understanding of the confusing legal jargon associated with the GDPR. So, please be sure to do your own research and consult with a legal professional if you need help understanding the GDPR laws.
I’d love to hear from you. How do you feel about the new 2018 GDPR laws?