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Prague is making a name for itself as a digital nomad hotspot in Europe. Find out what our DNG guest writer Kelsey had to share about this awesome city.
Hi Kelsey! Please tell us a bit about yourself

Hi, I’m Kelsey Greene, I’m an avid traveller, creative media producer and passionate educator. I dove into the digital nomad lifestyle in 2017 by accepting a remote position for a US-based marketing company. I was born in Western, New York, and ventured beyond the state after college to live in Rhode Island, Chicago, and most recently Prague. When I’m not working, you can find me horseback riding, kayaking, baking, and of course – exploring new places!

I moved to Prague in February 2018 to teach a course in media literacy at Charles University, so I have only been able to experience the city for a few months so far.

   

What do you like best about Prague? What makes it special?

Prague is a quaint little capital that will keep you continually amazed. Beyond its gorgeous gothic architecture, vivid red roofs, and bridge-adorned river, the city provides a ceaseless array of scenic parks, hidden beer gardens, and lively nightlife venues.

While there’s lots to do, see, and of course drink in Prague, the city is also a nice base for exploring the rest of Europe, with many affordable buses, trains, and planes providing direct routes to different destinations.

What are the best neighbourhoods in Prague to check out or stay in?

Prague has an abundance of neighbourhoods and districts. Here are a few to check out:

Old Town (Staré Město) – Prague 1

This is the heart of Prague where medieval buildings, modern shopping centres, and monuments all meet. The Old Town Square hosts great markets at Christmas and Easter time. If you like to be amongst the buzz of crowds or hit up crazy clubs any night of the week, this is the place for you.

Lesser Town / Little Quarter (Malá Strana) – Prague 1

This hilly district houses the Prague Castle, St. Nicholas Church, Petřín park, diverse embassies, and quaint restaurants and shops. A definite spot to visit, but more expensive to stay.

Vinohrady (Prague 2)

An upscale neighbourhood with ornate houses, this is the where I decided to reside. I’ve enjoyed the convenient location, access to public transit, local feel and nearby parks.

Vyšehrad (Albertov) – Prague 2

This is near the Vltava River, which has become the newest hotspot with boat bars and a Saturday Farmer’s Market.

Holešovice & Letná – Prague 7

The hip, industrial district has some of the best art museums and the largest park, Stromovka. It’s easily accessible with public transportation, making it a viable option for accommodation.

What are your favourite places to work in Prague?

La Boheme Cafe – This cafe is nearby for me with friendly staff, nice decor, and good wifi. However, the internet is restricted to a time limit, which is a bit of a downer.

Friends Cafe – A little, hidden gem that is widely referenced among digital nomads in the city for its strong wifi and good environment. It has a greenhouse-like hallway facing a courtyard which is so beautiful and there are also private rooms you can rent for meetings in the back.

Mama Coffee – The local chain to go to for a tasty caffeine kick and multiple locations. The main hub has a second floor with big windows, which I’ve enjoyed working at.

Cafedu – This spot is often referenced as a go-to for wifi with two floors and meeting rooms to rent out, but it gets very crowded with college students in the evenings and on weekends.

What are your favourite places to eat? Are there any special dishes you recommend trying in Prague?

Lokal is a restaurant often referenced by locals, which is intended to re-create the experience of a Communist Era Beer Hall through minimalistic design and food offerings. It serves traditional Czech food made with local ingredients at affordable prices – and the service is good, which isn’t always the case in Prague. Beyond the obvious staple of Pilsner beer, try the fried cheese, homemade sausages, or goulash with sauerkraut and dumplings.

Kozlovna is a local chain of restaurants offering large, hearty Czech dishes at reasonable rates. The service is quick and usually friendly. Their beer menu is extensive and their roast duck is quite good.

I have been to a few other sporadic restaurants throughout the city but often tend to buy food at the local markets or grocery stores for meal preparation. There is a rather large Vietnamese community in Prague, so there are many options for this cuisine as well.

 Tell us a bit about the average cost of living in Prague from your experience.

Prague is cheaper than the US cities I’ve lived in. Monthly rent varies from $600 – $1,500 depending on the size of apartment and neighbourhood you choose. Public transit for three months cost me about $75. Groceries are reasonable and restaurants are inexpensive if you go to more local spots.

Beer is extremely cheap, costing only $1 for a pint at the bar! Beware, you usually have to pay for water when eating out.

What are your favourite things to do in Prague?

Of course, there’s a lot of traditional sightseeing in Prague. The top attractions include The Prague Castle, Charles Bridge, Old Town Square, St. Vitus Cathedral, The Old Town Hall with the Astronomical Clock, The National Theater, St. Nicholas Church, and the Jewish Quarter

Free walking tours are available for entertaining and informative overviews of the city (no reservations are required but tips are often encouraged).

Beyond the beaten path, I enjoy:

  • Walking along the riverside and getting drinks from bustling boat bars
  • Taking in amazing city views near Vyšehrad, particularly at sunset
  • Running through Park Folimanka and taking in the sites from the elevated stone wall
  • Exercising in the workout park at Riegrovy sady or chilling in the beer garden
  • Strolling through Havlíčkovy sady or sipping wine at the adorable vineyard in the park

When do you think is the best time to visit Prague?

As someone who arrived in Prague in the midst of a fiercely cold winter, I have witnessed the absolute bliss that comes with spring in this city. It seems Prague was made for this season! The pastel buildings perfectly match the budding flowers and the grass-covered hills eagerly invite everyone to stretch out across them in celebration of newfound warmth.

The days can keep you guessing with quick changes in temperatures and precipitation, but the beautiful colours persist rain or shine. As long as you head out the door with an umbrella and light jacket, you should be set to go for the day. If the drizzle turns to downpour, there are many cozy cafes, restaurants and bars to duck into, which also happen to have gardens when the sun makes an appearance again.

While summers in Prague are amazing as well, this is prime tourist time so expect more crowds and higher prices as the city is a rather well-known destination.

I’ll note I have not witnessed fall in Prague, but based on what I’ve gathered, it seems the weather and temperatures are similar to spring.

Is there a digital nomad scene in Prague?

There is a rather active expat scene in Prague, which I have not been heavily involved with, but I have gone to a few Meetups and taken part in the affiliated Facebook groups. Using global female traveller Facebook groups, I’ve been able to meet up with a few international women in Prague, which I’ve really enjoyed.

There’s also a Girl Gone International Group in Prague, you can find them on Facebook here.

And you can find the Prague Digital Nomads Group here.

How would you rate Prague in terms of safety for women travellers?

Prague is very safe for women travelling solo. I have felt comfortable wandering the city alone both in daylight and at night. Sometimes locals get a bad rap for being rude, but no one is intrusive or threatening.

NOTE: Of course, we always recommend using common sense as you would in any other major city in the world.

 

Thank you SO much Kelsey for sharing this mini guide with us! If you want to find out more about Kelsey you can check out her website and connect with her on social media.

The post Digital Nomad Girls Guide to Prague appeared first on Digital Nomad Girls.

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Are you getting more work than you can take on? Working crazy hours but feel like you can’t raise your rates anymore? Maybe it’s time to scale your business! Our featured expert in the Inner Circle this month is Esther Inman, who successfully scaled her freelance business to an agency over the last few years. This is such an important topic, so I’ve put together a blog post with 3 signs that it’s time to Scale Your Business.

As digital nomads we work hard to create as much freedom in our lives as possible. When you started out on your nomad journey you probably imagined yourself waking up in beautiful new cities or beach towns, getting a few hours of super productive work in and then exploring in the afternoons.

But chances are, a few years down the road, instead of working the elusive ‘4-Hour Workweek’ and having adventures every day, you feel like you’re always working, juggling too many clients who need you round the clock, and not making as much money ask you’d like.

You’ve tried ‘working smarter not harder’, increased your rates and tested all the productivity hacks under the sun, but somehow you’re still feeling overwhelmed and underpaid. Don’t worry, you’re not a ‘bad digital nomad’ (seriously, I’ve heard so many people say this about themselves!), but it might just be time for you to scale your business and take it to the next level.

Here are the 3 main signs that it’s time to scale, and a short overview of how to go about it:

Sign 1: You work too much

Do you have more clients wanting to hire you than you can take on? Maybe you’ve already taken on too many and now you’ve got so much work that you simply can’t juggle it all. You’ve missed some deadlines, or the quality of your work is starting to suffer because you’ve got too much on your plate.

You’re probably working all hours of the day, and even on weekends. And worst of all, you feel like your work-life balance is a total joke, as you can’t even remember the last time you took a full weekend off, or even *gasp* a vacation.

Sign 2: You can’t grow your income anymore

Do you feel like you’ve hit a ceiling with your earnings? You might have already increased your hourly rate and your package prices a few times and feel like there isn’t any room left to raise them. The market simply won’t allow for you to charge anymore.

But at the same time, you can only work so many hours, so your earnings are stagnating. You’ve completely maxed out the time you can work and the amount of money you can make with that time.

This is a really common situation, and every successful freelancer will reach this point.

Sign 3: You’re burning out

This is a really common sign and you might have mistaken it for being ‘too unproductive’ or just disorganised. While that’s also possible, burnout is a sign of being ready to scale up your business.

You might even feel like your work isn’t enjoyable anymore, that you’re overwhelmed and aren’t even enjoying this business you set up.

If you’ve nodded along while reading the signs above, then it’s time for you to level up your business! Yay!

Now what?

It probably sounds super daunting to scale up your business and take on even more work, right? But only by taking your biz to the next level will you be able to create more balance and freedom and make time for all the other important things in your life, like travel, family, friends, hobbies (remember those?), exercise and all the other good stuff.

You’ll also be able to build some extra income streams and finally increase your income, which will, in turn, give you even more freedom.

Now the big question is ‘how do I do that?’ and while this topic is waaay too big to dive into here, I’ll quickly highlight the steps you’ll have to take.

The most important thing is to define your core offer and know exactly what you’re offering your clients. This is crucial, as you’ll have to get clear on all the different roles that you’ve taken on so far. For example, if you’ve been offering web design and branding, you could be wearing the hats of designer, brand consultant, web designer, project manager, copywriter, accountant, marketer, UX expert…and the list goes on. You get the idea!

Get clear on all the different roles and then find contractors to bring onto your team. They can be on a retainer or project-based pay. Of course, there is a lot of work involved in vetting and hiring a whole bunch of contractors, which we won’t get into here.

Next, you’ll want to add some extra income streams to your business. These can be passive, but they don’t have to be, as you now have a team to help you.

And last, but not least, you’ll want to properly ramp up your marketing efforts by putting a client funnel into place. It will be your main job to get more clients, so freelance platforms and hanging out in Facebook groups won’t cut it anymore. A client funnel can be automated and help you bring in qualified leads for your business.

I know it sounds like a tonne of work, and it will definitely be a learning curve. But like our expert, Esther said in the Inner Circle, “Baby, it’s time to scale!”.

If you’d like to learn how to grow your freelance business step-by-step into an agency model, then come and join us in the DNG Inner Circle! Join the waitlist here.

A HUGE thank you to Esther Inman for being our featured expert and sharing her brilliance and experience with us! You can find out more about Esther and her businesses The Content Bank and Virtual Assistant Internship here or come and hang out with her inside the DNG Inner Circle.

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The post 3 Signs That It’s Time To Scale Your Business appeared first on Digital Nomad Girls.

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We asked and you answered! Find out how these girls got their first online client!

One of the goals of the Digital Nomad Girls Community is to educate and inspire other ladies to join us on our Digital Nomad journeys. We aim to provide you with relevant, useful and inspiring content about what jobs are available and how you can get them. That’s why I decided to ask the group how they got their first ever online clients!

Facebook posts can get totally lost so I wanted to then turn that into a blog post that can inspire others to put themselves out there and know where to look for those online jobs they dream of. It was interesting to hear the results and I am going to share a bunch of those with you today!

I will start with my own story, I got my first ever online freelance gig through friends I met in Chaing Mai. I was hanging out with a bunch of travel bloggers at the time and two of them ran their own media company. They hired me to write SEO articles (they were $7 a piece, but after a little while I could write 3-4 an hour). It was not the most glamorous, but I was so so happy!

We have a post about pricing yourself as a freelancer which you can read here.

Justyn got her first ever client through Upwork but was then able to grow her business from the many referrals of a girl she ended up living with and working for in Bali. She has since gotten over 20 clients from referrals of friends and family members and has been able to grow her own business this way!

Marielien got her client by asking around in her own network. “Do you know anyone who has XXX need and may need my help to achieve XXX.”

Esther got her first client face to face through a skillshare event.

Esther’s first online client reached out to her out of the blue after she read a post reply in a Facebook group.

However, Leah’s answer might have just been my favourite! She found her first ever client on Okcupid. “My first client was a guy I had previously dated. I met my business partner on OkCupid too, but we never actually dated.”

Mia told us that her first client was found through a Facebook ad. “I was just looking for something to do for couple of months until I move to Greece to do my Master. I wasn’t really passionate about it but I just wanted to move.  After I resigned from 9-5 job and two Skype interviews later I got a long term project which made me go to Asia. I never looked back”

Ina shared with us that she used the platform Meetup to find out about get-togethers and conventions that interested her. She looked for things like Sustainability in fashion and simply got chatting with people once she was there. She was just originally just looking to connect with likeminded people and find her tribe. Someone she met there later called her and explained that she was planning to set up an online shop for her fashion brand. She wanted to know if I knew anyone that could help her with that. Ina’s response was simply, “Oh sure, you’re talking to her”.

Lastly, Susan offered to share her story. She told us, “In 2010, I was watching one of the morning talk shows on TV, and they were discussing this new “freelancing” movement, where people were working from home as independent contractors, rather than employees. They discussed various freelance websites and the different projects available – and Virtual Assistant was one of the careers mentioned. That perked my ears up, as at that point, I had over 25 years of office management/administrative experience.

I started looking at Elance (no longer exists, now part of Upwork, which I don’t use) and within a week of putting my profile out there and dropping some proposals, I had my first client – and then another, and another. My first project was simple web research, but it branched out from there. In January of 2011, I was laid off from my full-time job. Within 2 weeks, I had built my client list to a full-time level. I never went back to my job. Now, over 6 years later, I’m a full-time Virtual Assistant. I help coaches, authors, small biz owners and entrepreneurs find more time in their day. I take the social media, marketing and other admin tasks off their hands.”

Where else do ladies find their clients?!

While those are a few of the personal stories that we got from the ladies, the rest tallied up to be a mishmash of Referrals, platforms like Upwork and various other remote work platforms. Once you know what you want to do, all you have to do is put yourself out there. Create an ad, or even just let people know what you are doing now! You never know who could become your next contact! I know someone that once got a huge client just from going to a family Christmas party! There’s plenty of places to get your first online client!

If you have any questions, just comment below or add a post in the Facebook community!

Save this post for later!

The post 10 Digital Nomad Girls Share How thy found their first online client appeared first on Digital Nomad Girls.

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Let’s talk productivity today, girls! It’s a topic I see discussed in the Digital Nomad world A LOT. I think it’s safe to say that balancing your own business or freelancing career while travelling the world is challenging. I have yet to meet a single nomad who hasn’t struggled with this.

And yet, the nomadic lifestyle makes being productive both trickier and more important than ever at the same time. After all, you want to spend time on the things that matter to you most, right?

But before you download yet another productivity app or hack, there are some underlying principles and a few simple habits that can improve your productivity like crazy.

We covered Productivity inside the DNG Inner Circle this month and I invited productivity coach and digital nomad Jo Bendle, who shared her favourite SIMPLE productivity habits with us. I’m going to sum them up for you here to help you get your productivity going.

But before we start…

Let’s talk mindset!

What makes productivity especially tricky for digital nomads is our constant striving for ultimate freedom. Often we struggle to combine routines, habits, systems and plans – all the ingredients needed to become truly productive – with our desire to be as flexible, spontaneous, and free as possible. The last thing we want is some productivity guru forcing a routine and structure on us, as it feels like it’s threatening our freedom.

That’s why mindset is the first thing to get to grips with when we talk about Productivity, and realising that 

It takes discipline to be a free spirit.

It’s ok to set boundaries, use a calendar and even have set office hours (gasp). These won’t hinder your freedom, they will enable it.

So, the sooner we get over the notion that systems and structure are boring and don’t conform with our freedom lifestyle, the sooner we can embrace them as tools to create even more freedom for ourselves. And try to have fun with them!

But, first…

We need get disciplined

I feel strongly that discipline deserves to be mentioned much more when productivity is discussed.

Let’s face it, it’s hard work to be productive. Especially in the beginning when you are still setting up your systems and settling into routines that work for you. It takes dedication, trial and error and beating bad habits.

I know it sounds easier to try out the latest productivity ‘hack’ that promises to ramp up your productivity 10-fold, than trying to becoming disciplined, right?

But how often do these hacks actually solve our productivity problems? For me personally, never. At least not by themselves, only if they’re part of my overall system.

Thankfully, our productivity expert Jo has some simple and free(!) tips for us to staying productive as a digital nomad girls:

Goals & Focus

Before you can start working on your productivity, you have to know what you’re actually trying to achieve.

There’s a big difference between being busy and being productive and you can only be productive if you’re working towards a specific goal. Whether you set your goals, annually, quarterly, monthly or weekly (or ideally all of these!), goal-setting has to become part of your productivity routine.

Jo recommends setting your daily goals the day before and aligning them with your weekly and monthly goals.

Once you’ve set your goals it’s crucial to keep focused on them. Shiny object syndrome is real, yo. Entrepreneurs and freelancers are usually creative people and you’ll have tonnes of great (and some not so great) ideas that you’d love to follow up on.

But if you want to be successful and productive you have to stay focused on your big goals. No matter what others are doing, or how awesome this great new business opportunity sounds. Stay focused and remember:

“You can do anything but not everything.”

Inside the DNG Inner Circle we have monthly goal setting sessions to help us stay on track and focused on our big goals. Check it out here > >

Daily Action

Of course, goal setting is only the beginning, once you’ve set them, it’s time to take massive action.

Especially in the beginning of your freelance career or of your online business it can feel like you’re constantly chasing your tail, reacting to requests and clients, and not really working ON your business.

A great way to make sure you are working towards your big business goals, while also taking care of the day to day tasks is by setting aside a set amount of time every day. It doesn’t matter if you can only spare 30, it’s better than nothing and will add up.

Switch off all your notifications, tell clients you’re out of office, and work on 1-3 tasks that will get you closer to your big goal.

These tasks don’t have to be massive, ideally they’re small and achievable. Maybe your big goal is to launch an online course this year. One small task can be to pick a name for your course, or draft the outline of the different chapters.

Taking consistent action like this daily will get you to your goals, even if it feels slow in the beginning. Remember:

“A little progress each day, adds up to big results”

And in addition, you’ll feel great for working towards your big goal and like you’re accomplishing something which will keep you motivated.

Review, Tweak & Improve

The last step towards greater productivity is checking in with your progress regularly. Jo has a quote she loves which says:

“High performers self-monitor more than underperformers”

Review your goals regularly and often, ideally daily (seriously!) to make sure you’re on track and not wasting your time.

Jo recommends doing an End of Day Review as well as Weekly reviews in addition to your monthly, quarterly and annual reviews and goal sessions.

Reviewing doesn’t have to be dull, you can make it fun and even turn it into a little ritual you actually look forward to. Write down everything you’ve achieved that day (or week) and take a moment to celebrate your achievement.

Then write down what worked, what didn’t work and what you could improve, before setting your goals for the day or week ahead.

It’s really that simple.

Start by committing to take 5 minutes every day to review what you did and plan your 3 important tasks for the next day. Then block off 30 minutes of time the next day (ideally as early as possible in your work day) and focus only on those 3 tasks that will drive your business forward.

We’ve been implementing these simple habits into our daily and weekly routines this month in the DNG Inner Circle and I’ve been getting great feedback from the girls.

And as always, don’t beat yourself up if you fall off the wagon for a few days (or weeks, or months). You can always start again and get back on track.

I hope these tips are helpful and you’ll try implementing them one by one. Let me know how it goes and comment below!

The post 3 Simple Productivity Habits for Digital Nomad Girls appeared first on Digital Nomad Girls.

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Year-round sunshine, purse-friendly prices, and lots of great cafes with fast internet and cheap coffee. Could Portugal’s southernmost region be the next Chiang Mai? Maybe not quite, but there are a few reasons why it’s becoming more popular with digital nomads.

Why the Algarve?

For the past few decades, this enclave has been a haven for retirees and 18-30 partygoers. With Lisbon (just 173 miles up the road) drawing the attention of techies (hello Web Summit), the Algarve is a great low-cost option for digital nomad girls.

  • It’s home to some of Europe’s most beautiful beaches.
  • The majority of cafes and restaurants have free Wi-Fi. The local cafe culture means you can linger over your Macbook and 70 cent espresso without feeling awkward (the locals do the same, only with a copy of the local newspaper).
  • Because it’s been a tourism and retirement hotspot for years, most of the locals speak English.
  • Although it’s generally a sleepy and peaceful place from October to March, Algarve 360 ensures there are plenty of cultural events taking place throughout the year. I also love the low-season brunch at The Wolf Bar & Grill in Carvoeiro (free flowing mimosas!)
  • Did I mention the weather? I’m writing this on December 20th and I’m sitting outside in a Chang vest top and PJ bottoms. Nothing but blue skies, ladies.

What you’ll need

Data sim card: The biggest 4G provider in Portugal is MEO, and they have a special 15 day data plan with 30GB of internet for €14.99. If you’re staying for longer, a regular sim from the MEO store costs €9.99. You can add data for the month (€5.49 for 200MB, and €30.99 for 15GB). Other major sim providers include Vodafone (€13.99 per month for 1 GB data) and NOS (€7.99 for 1GB of data).

Transport: Living in the Algarve is do-able without a car or scooter, but it does make exploring a lot more difficult as buses and trains can be infrequent (the pace of life here is lovely and lazy).

Cost of Living

Portugal isn’t an expensive country anyway, but the Algarve is especially cheap. In 2016 it topped the Post Office’s holiday costs barometer. The cost of living in the Algarve is generally quite low.

Accommodation: The only time you’ll have trouble finding a place to stay in the Algarve is from June to September. This is the summer high-season, and hotel/Airbnb prices tend to triple. Visit in the winter and you’ll find some very attractive prices (as well as excellent weather by European standards).

  • Monthly Airbnb rental for a whole place with internet: around £600 per month (low season)
  • One night in a hostel: €17 in low season, €20 in summer

Food and drink: If you cook a lot, expect to spend around €15-20 per week on groceries (much cheaper if you’re vegetarian). You can find fantastic bottles of wine for under €5 in the supermarket. Dining out isn’t expensive, either. Main courses in local restaurants cost between €6 and €12. I rarely spend more than €1 on a coffee or €2.50 on a beer.

Toiletries: Expect to pay about €3-6 each for a bottle of shampoo and conditioner, and about €3-4 for roll-on deodorant. In Continente (a big supermarket) a 4 pack of Venus Spa Breeze razor refills costs €14.49, and a 6 pack of Bic Pure Lady cost €3.29. 16 applicator tampons cost €2.99 (OB brand) and 16 pads cost €3.99 (Evax Liberty).

Where to work in the Algarve

Most coffee shops have free Wi-Fi, and if the password isn’t super easy to guess (usually the name of the network or the coffee shop) the staff are always happy to share it. One of my favourite coffee shops to work from is Lazy Jacks on the marina in Lagos.

As for co-working spaces, the main ones are:

  • Faro Avenida Business Centre: €10 per day, one month from €70
  • Votum Co-working lab (Faro): €5 per day, €80 per month
  • CENTRO Lagos: €149 per month

Digital nomad retreats are also appearing in the region. CoWorkSurf in Sagres combines surfing lessons with co-working. They’ve got a few retreats in the pipeline for 2017 and are looking at getting a permanent space. Other retreats worth looking out for are CoWork Algarve, Cowork Villa and SouthWest Collective.

There’s also a Digital Nomads Portugal Facebook group, with lots of members based in the Algarve (including the moderator, Sergio, who is based in Faro).

Best places to base yourself

Faro – This is the capital of The Algarve, and where the region’s only airport is located. It’s also the main public transport hub. This makes it a good place to stay if you’re not planning on hiring a car or bike.

Lagos – This town is home to Portugal’s best burger bar and also has a growing digital nomad scene (as well as lots of surf schools). I recommend renting an apartment near Maia Praia beach, a 10 minute walk from the city centre.

Portimão- This bustling town has excellent shopping, including a fantastic fresh fish market and a shopping mall with a Primark. It’s very central, and near the party-town area of Praia da Rocha.

Silves – If you want to get a really authentic Portuguese experience, I highly recommend this little inland town. It’s halfway between the beach and mountains. Halfway between the west coast and the airport, and free Wi-Fi in the main square. The cost of living is a bit lower here, too.

Author bio:  Jemma Porter has been living la vida nomad since 2012, when she left Scotland to become a freelance writer. Although she’s been all over Europe and Southeast Asia, she keeps coming back to Portugal. She co-runs the website Portugalist.com, and you can find her on Twitter and Instagram too.

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One thing that I love about The Digital Nomad Girls Community is its ability to bring women together from all over the world. Women empower women, I truly believe and love that saying. That being said, today we are going to share 10 of the most badass female explorers to help spark your wanderlust!

Next time you are debating whether or not you should book that ticket, get on that plane, or see that country, remember these women and let them fuel your next adventure!

10 Female Explorers 1. Lady Hester Stanhope

First up when talking about adventure and wanderlust filled lives… We have, Lady Hester Stanhope. This woman is a bit wild, she left England behind at the age of 33 to travel throughout Turkey, Greece, France, and Germany. However, in route to Egypt, she gave up all of her womanly belongings, donned men’s attire and took off into the desert. She even was able to convince the Ottoman’s to let her excavate the ruins of Ashkelon, where she found a headless marble statue that she then ordered to be crushed to bits…

Source : Wikimedia

2. Jeanne Baret 

Secondly, I want to share with you the first woman to sail around the entire world! In 1776 one Miss Jeanne Baret had to disguise herself as a man in order to get on a ship and see the world. Jeanne was a botanist who wanted to explore the world right alongside the men, so she became the personal assistant to Louis Antoine de Bougainville. During these years she called herself Jean Baret and a decade later she had become the first woman to sail around the entire world.

Source : Wikimedia

3. Kira Salak

Up in number 3 we are celebrating Kira Salak. She was not only the first woman to traverse Papua New Guinea but she also cycled from Alaska to the Arctic Ocean and kayaked solo from the Niger River Timbuktu. This woman is absolutely killing it! She is an American writer and adventurer, having written a few books about her adventures. She also writes often for National Geographic.

4. Gertrude Bell

Gertrude Bell is an easy inspiration for everyone. As an English writer, she inspires all through her travels. She volunteered with the Red Cross during World War II and afterward went into a career in politics. Gertrude helped shaped the world today as we know it. She is best known for her travels in Greater Syria, Arabia, Jordan and Iraq where she not only explored but also mapped these regions as they are now recognized.

Source : Wikimedia

5. Mary Kingsley

Next, we have an inspiring European woman who traveled to parts of West African when most women wouldn’t even walk the streets of London alone. Mary Kingsley started traveling at the age of 30 when family members that she was taking care of passed away. She headed to West Africa, being the first European to enter Gabon.

Source : Wikimedia

6. Marin Minamiya

Marin comes next! This 19-year-old student became the youngest Japanese person to climb Mount Everest! She has also reached both North and South poles and since climbed the highest peaks on all 7 continents! Talk about inspiring… I can barely be motivated to walk up the stairs these days…

7. Barbara Hillary 

And one of the biggest badasses EVER. Barbara Hillary was the first African American woman to reach the North and South Pole.However, what makes her expedition truly amazing is that the lung cancer survivor was 79 years old when she reached the South Pole in 2011. Hillary is now inspiring other women as a motivational speaker, as she should be! Wow!

8. Suzanne Al Houby

Next, we have one of my favorites! This badass was the first Arab women to hike all 7 summits. Suzanne Al Houby, a Palestinian-born adventure lover. Suzanne is an avid traveler and explorer, a humanitarian, and an environmentalist with an affiliation and a keen support to few charity organizations. She is the founder and the CEO of rahhalah explorers which specializes in adventure travel and she encourages kids all over the world to get off their phones and get into the mountains.

Source : Wikimedia

9. Valentina Tereshkova

Next up we have Valentina Tereshkova. Valentina was the first woman to ever enter space. Her love for space was solidified when she circled the Earth 48 times in 1961. You know if there was a one-way exhibition to Mars, she’d be the first one on board. Valentina was born in central Russia and left her career in textiles to pursue a life in space!

Source : Wikimedia

10. Cassie De Pecol

Lastly, we are just going to dub her the travel queen! Cassie De Pecol not only became the first documented woman to travel to every to every sovereign nation, but she was also spreading love and peace around the world as she went. If no one else inspires you to travel, Cassie should.  

This 27-year-old spent 2 years traveling to every sovereign nation, getting valid documentation of her travels while also collecting water samples, visiting schools, and teaching of peace as she went. I encourage you to follow her adventure, you won’t be disappointed.

These women are definitely going to spark your wanderlust and hopefully, they will inspire you to push yourself to the limits, try new things and explore new corners of the world. Never let people tell you that you can’t do something because you are a woman! Do it anyway, and better than they ever could have. Then the women of the future will be including you in their inspiring posts! Most of all, just don’t be afraid to chase your dreams, no matter how wild they might seem.

A Happy International Women’s Day on that note!!

Pin to inspire other ladies!

The post 10 Badass female explorers to spark your wanderlust appeared first on Digital Nomad Girls.

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In our Digital Nomad Girls interview series, we feature interviews with Digital Nomad Girls from around the world with interesting location independent jobs. This month we meet Digital Nomad Girl Sienna Brown, founder of Las Morenas de España

Hi Sienna! Please tell us a bit about yourself

My name is Sienna and I’m the founder of Las Morenas de España (a site focused on diversity and cultural immersion in Spain) and I also run communications at Sun and Co. (a coliving space in Javea, Spain.)

I’m originally from New York but have been location independent for the past 3 years living in Spain. (p.s. this is where we held our 1st and 3rd DNG retreats, check out what we got up to here and here)

Although I don’t move to different countries often, living abroad has allowed me to create a balanced life and do meaningful work while also travelling the world. Becoming location independent has opened up endless doors for me both personally and professionally.

It’s amazing to see how embracing and adapting to life in a different country can teach you so much in such a short amount of time.

What is your location independent job?

Las Morenas de España (LMDES) hosts events and retreats around the country, which allows me to travel frequently for work. My communications job at Sun and Co. also gives me the freedom to take off and work remotely, which allows for me to travel quite often. Aside from that, I also have quite a few speaking engagements throughout the year.

How did you get into this line of work? How can others do the same?

Three years ago, I quit my communications job in NYC because I was looking to create a life abroad. As I built my own business with LMDES, I was simultaneously teaching English, which allowed for me to deal with the visa process abroad quite easily.

Quite often, people start their journeys without a sense of patience or understanding that it’s a process and my biggest piece of advice is to take it slow and find what works for you.

Once LMDES took off, more and more work started coming in to help people find community and take the leap to move abroad themselves. Life came full circle last spring when the due diligence of immersing myself in Spanish culture and creating a name for myself led to the job opportunity at Sun and Co., and I had to say yes.

What motivated you to pursue a life as a digital nomad?

I think that most people envision DNG’s as travelling the world all of the time and never stopping, but for me, I pursued this lifestyle because I wanted the time to enjoy life and not be overworked. Living in Spain previously was one of the happiest moments of my life and I wanted to bottle up that feeling, which is what inspired my move back.

I think it’s so important to live a life that we’re proud of, and I feel like I’m living my truth each day. I was motivated to create a sustainable lifestyle where I was truly happy. Now, that looks like me doing work that I love, living in a beautiful city, being able to travel when I want to and also helping others realize that they can do the same.

Did your friends/family/colleagues think you’ve gone crazy? Were they supportive?

I’m so lucky that my family was extremely supportive throughout the entire process! Although it was/is really hard because I’m so close to my family, I’m blessed to be able to see them at least once a year.

My mom was the most supportive and knew that the move would be for the best… not to mention, it gives her the perfect excuse to travel to Europe more often with my little sister!

Although being away from loved ones is really hard, it’s always satisfying when they see you truly happy and living your best life… in turn, making them proud!

What do you struggle with most when you work and travel?

I think the biggest struggle when working and travelling is finding a routine. I’m someone who is big on habits and efficiency, and things can be thrown out of whack when you’re always on the road.

My way to deal with it is by always keeping a morning routine, no matter where I am in the world and also being more patient with myself and deadlines while travelling.

We don’t go to new places to be behind our computers 24/7, so I find a way to do 1 or 2 extremely important tasks in the morning and then explore in the afternoon.

I also prepare myself before I know I’m headed away and do as much as I can so I don’t feel guilty while on the road!

How do you connect with and meet people when travelling?

I LOVE using Instagram to connect with people while on the road. I’m always using the app, so when heading to new places I make the most of it. I also use my current networks. I’m grateful to know a lot of people in a lot of places, so I normally share that I’m headed to a new place and, odds are, I’ll get recommendations of who to meet there.

Before heading to a new place, I also do a bit of research on cultural happenings in the area and then I head there solo. When I do, I almost always meet someone interesting!

What advice would you give a girlfriend who wanted to start out as a digital nomad?

My advice would be to take the time to find what works for you when you’re starting out as a digital nomad. I think that society has over-idealized this vision that living abroad or being a DN, meaning you’re always on the beach and never doing work, but it’s just not true.

I think that all of us need to find what works for us to figure out if we want a home base, if we want to be on the road all the time, how often we really want to be travelling, etc.

Also, realize that life happens in waves and embrace the slow moments. When you’re first starting out it’s vital to take your time with the process.

Quick Fire Round:

When I feel lonely, I … call my grandmother and have a good laugh.

My favourite digital nomad location is … Jávea, Spain. Ironically, I live here now!

The one item I always pack is … my journal.

My favourite digital nomad tool/app/resource is … Whatsapp

In 5 years time, I want to be … financially independent and in a loving relationship.

My all-time favourite quote is … “There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.” – Nelson Mandela

Thank you SO much Sienna for sharing your story with us! If you want to find out more about Sienna you can check out her website and connect with her on social media.

The post Meet Digital Nomad Girl Sienna Brown – Founder of Las Morenas de España appeared first on Digital Nomad Girls.

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In our new blog series we want to share with you all the different and interesting jobs that you can do online. Many people think that only web developers and bloggers can work remotely, when actually there is a growing number of jobs that allow you to go remote.

This month we are going to be sharing with you how to work as a Social Media Manager from anywhere in the world.

We interviewed 3 girls that are currently rocking the digital nomad world as Social Media Managers, and here’s what they have to tell you…

What exactly does a social media manager do?

As a Social Media Manager, you can handle a lot of different tasks for your clients, and the job can vary depending on what different clients want and need. However, some of the tasks that you can expect to do include:

– Creating a social media strategy
– Community management & customer service
– Content creation & curation
– Content scheduling
– Research
– You might be responsible for influencer outreach, and forming strategic alliances
– Running campaigns
– Managing ads

What kind of skills do you need to become a Social Media Manager?

Lisa told us, “Knowledge of online marketing channels – there are so many platforms now people tend to specialize and become experts in a couple. Excellent copywriting skills and solid grammar. Ability to deliver creative content (text, image, and video). Solid knowledge of SEO, keyword research, and Google Analytics. A lot of places want familiarity with web design and at least basic HTML knowledge. Great communication skills are very important.”

Vicky added to that by telling us, “Of course, familiarity with each social media platform including targeting capabilities, ad types, and delivery options are important too!”

Jen also let us know what the most important skills for her are, “communication, multitasking, writing, project management, strategic thinking, and customer service skills.”

Do you need any qualifications or certificates?

All the girls agreed that no, you don’t need any qualifications or certificates to work as a Social Media Manager. However, they also agreed that it can be very helpful for you to have experience, and if it’s something you are really passionate about your, educate yourself using one of the many online courses out there.

Where do you find jobs as a social media manager?

Jen shared her secrets for where she finds jobs as a social media manager: “There are so many opportunities to find clients and jobs. There are websites like Upwork, Facebook groups, networking events, and just good ol’ conversation with a stranger. I’ve found most of my clients from Facebook groups, networking events, and referrals from these relationships. I’ve even gotten a client from a housesit!”

Lisa agreed that word of mouth is one of the best ways for you to find a job working as a Social Media Manager.

Vicky shared a slightly different opinion: “There are many ways to go about building a career in social media. I personally feel starting at an agency is the most effective way to learn both the soft and hard skills necessary for success, though this typically means working in-house. Ad agencies are often centered in tech hubs/larger cities. I found my first agency job on Craigslist. If I were looking for an entry-level agency today, aside from Craigslist/LinkedIn/Indeed, I would find out what agencies exist in cities I wanted to live in and keep tabs on their posted job opportunities. Once you have the foundation of your skill set and want to move to a remote position, you can find relevant positions on job boards dedicated to remote work (typically under the tag ‘marketing’). Conversely, you can work for yourself building your own clientele via your networks like DNG and LinkedIn.”

How much can I earn as a social media manager?

All the girls we talked to had differing opinions on how much you can make as a social media manager, but they all agreed that it can vary wildly based on the worker and employer. Much of it comes down to how much you are going to charge. Overcharge and you might get fewer clients; undercharge and you might find yourself working nonstop and making no money.

Vicky hit the nail on the head when she said, ‘Like most jobs, this varies on how many years of experience you have. It’s also highly dependent on whether you work for a larger organization/agency or for yourself. I feel the salary range for a strategist with at least three years experience working on larger accounts can earn $50k – $70k USD/year, excluding commission or bonuses at an agency.

Working for yourself is even more variable, but a consultant with the same level of experience as the above can earn $30-$60/hour or more depending on your negotiation skills!”

How do you price your services as a social media manager?

Both Jen and Lisa agreed that they found charging a flat monthly rate to be the best way to go. This way they felt like they didn’t have to write down everything everytime they hopped on Instagram just to do some engagement for a client. They just knew that everything they did for the whole month was already covered.

Vicky however, told us that she charges hourly for her work.

Is it easy to work as a social media manager while travelling?

Lisa said “For the most part it’s a very easy job to do while traveling. All you need is a great data plan and decent internet. I have clients all over the world, so one of my favorite apps is WorldTimeBuddy which helps me manage timezones. You will also need a system to help you manage content like Buffer, HootSuite, MeetEdgar, or Sprout Social to name a few.  A VPN can be important to keep client data safe. I work for a news organization that has a special tweet delivery system that is important I keep secure.”

Jen also shared with us her favorite things about being able to do this job while traveling, “You can structure your work hours around all your adventures. You can even create fun graphics on word swag by the pool or at the beach if you really want – I checked that one off my list for fun ;)”

What would you recommend to other nomad girls who’d like to get started working as a social media manager?

Jen wanted to share with everyone interested in becoming a social media manager that you shouldn’t wait to make your dreams come true! A true inspiration, she was able to start working while traveling before her own social profiles and website were ever set up. She encourages you to start right away if you think this is something that you want to do! She even says, “Whatever level you are at, there is someone who is a few steps behind you and is looking for some help, once you identify where that is you are in business!”

Vicky shared some great advice as well, she said that the best thing you can do is just start now, even if you are just doing some small things for yourself and your friends.

Lisa’s advice for all of you wanting to get started was to pick a niche! That way you can get specialized in your niche, which will make you able to charge more and get more people from that niche seeking you out to work with. She also suggested that you choose a few of the apps to become an expert in. She shared with us that she had to realize that Pinterest wasn’t really going to work for her niche, so she doesn’t bother with it, while, on the other hand, some entire businesses can be marketed just through Pinterest. It’s all about becoming an expert in your area!  

We really hope that this post has opened your eyes to all the possibilities out there for working online. There are so many things that you can do in the field of social media management alone. Take these girls advice and get started right away. The best thing for you is to get experience, which will enable you to gain momentum and grow in your field!

Don’t forget to share this post with other Digital Nomad Girls who might be looking to make the leap into the growing world of Social Media Management.

To learn more about the girls, check out their author bios below!

Jen Casano

 

Jen is originally from Vancouver BC Canada. She got started by just working off referrals and her side hobby has now turned into a full-time business. Because of this snowball effect, she is just now creating her own social channels and website. She’s a great reminder that you really can start from nothing!

Vicky Walker

Vicky is from Encinitas, CA, USA. She is currently located in London. She loves working as a Social Media Strategist as she chases her dreams around the world! You can connect with Vicky on LinkedIn.

Lisa Collard

Lisa is an American temporarily in Charlottesville, VA. She just returned from 2 years abroad (Thailand, Malaysia, Portugal, Morocco, Italy and more) and is spending time with family before making a permanent move abroad. Check out Lisa’s website and follow her on Instagram here.

The post DNG Presents Online Job of the Month: Social Media Manager appeared first on Digital Nomad Girls.

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Tis’ the season to be jolly travelling! Holiday season is prime travel time and also gift time. But unlike most people, this can be a time for dread and fear for Digital Nomads.  

Why, do you ask? There’s always one relative or well-meaning friend who decides to give us a coffee table book as a present, something along the lines of  “Destinations of  Lifetime”, “Humans of New York” or the more obscure: “Underwater Dogs”. And while everyone loves a good coffee table book, most nomads don’t own a home, never mind a coffee table to store these weighty gifts on.

So, this year, I thought I’d put together a list of cool. nomad-friendly gifts so you can send your friends and family some ideas. I’ve divided the gifts into physical and digital gifts (for the extra light traveller) and I hope you like them.

P.s. some of these links are affiliate links, so if you buy something via the link I get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Basically a little holiday gift for DNG Win-win!

 

The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide for Digital Nomad Girls
First, up our favourite gift this season:

Membership to the DNG Inner Circle

That was actually my mum’s idea. She thought an annual membership to our DNG Inner Circle would be a lovely gift to ask for this year and I totally agree

The DNG Inner Circle is our brand new membership network: a virtual coworking community that travels with you wherever you go! I wanted to create a space where you can come for advice, learn from experts and where we’ll hold each other accountable and work towards our goals together. As a member you’ll get access to monthly masterclasses with experts, monthly live Q&As, monthly goal setting sessions, a dedicated community, virtual coworking days, workbooks, member-only perks & discounts and much more!

Annual membership is now available at the Early Bird price of only $220 and this price will be locked in and never go up as long as you’re a member. (Monthly membership is available for $22/month).

Physical gifts: Stocking Fillers

Cable Tacos

Who doesn’t love tacos, right? But have you heard of a cable taco? These brilliant little inventions look just like little tacos and help you keep all your cords tidy. I love mine and have avoided serious cable tangling ever since using it. Here’s a great selection of cable tacos.

Freelancer at Work Stickers

Created by one of the nomad girls in our community, Martina. These stickers are a super clever way to advertise your services while working at coworking spaces or in cafes. There’s a whole range of different job titles a they’re a great way to spark a conversation with potential future clients. Get your own sticker here.

Get Dirty With Me

Not only is the name amazing, but this magic little powder shampoo might just change the way us nomads wash our hair for good. Another creation by one of our lovely DNG members, Leah has created this shampoo as a one-stop fix for all your washing needs. Can’t be bothered to wash your hair or want to freshen up after a long flight? Use it as a dry shampoo. Ready to hit the shower? Lather it up and use as normal shampoo. You can also use it on your skin if you’re a little hot and sweaty, as a face scrub and a soothing mask for a sunburn. It packs flat, is all natural and not tested on animals and made in Australia.

Bonus: if you use the coupon code DNG before December 25th you’ll get 3 free mini packs with your purchase! The minis are the perfect size to toss in your day bag. Check it out here and get it for all your nomad friends.

All time Favourite Nomad Gifts

Amazon Kindle

One of my all-time favourite gifts that I ever received (it was a graduation gift from my research group where I did my PhD) is my beloved Kindle. It’s nearly 4.5 years old today and still going strong. I love a good, real book just as much as the next bookworm, but it’s simply not practical to lug them around in your backpack. It’s bad for your health, you’ll have to pay for the extra weight and it limits your reading options. A Kindle is one of the best gifts for digital nomads.

Both the basic Kindle as well as the Kindle Paperwhite (which has built-in LEDs) are great options and won’t break the bank.

DNG Tote Bag, Tank Top or T-Shirt

I haven’t officially launched the DNG shop yet so you’re the first to find out about our brand new DNG goodies! Yay! You can choose between 2 fun travel quotes or just our simple logo on a tank top, tote or t-shirt! I love them all and hope you will too, maybe you have a digital nomad girl friend who’d love one for Christmas!

Mamimu Laptop Tote Bag

Also created by one of our very own digital nomad girls, June, the Mamimu Tote bags are possibly the prettiest laptop totes around. Inspired by Japanese Kimono culture and the graphic elements of urban landscapes, the totes come in 3 different styles and colours. I’ve been happily testing out my own Mamimu tote bag that June kindly sent me and it’s become one of my favourite bags. Great for popping down to the coworking space, without looking like a tourist with my backpack on. Check out the bags here.

The Roost Laptop Stand

Not the sexiest present, but definitely one of the healthiest ones for digital nomads. The Roost Stand is my favourite laptop stand. It’s incredibly lightweight, packs down to the size of of a measuring stick and holds nearly any laptop safely. Since using it, I’ve really noticed less neck pain, fewer headaches and no tingling in my wrists and fingers anymore. I really recommend every long-term laptop user to use one of these.

You can get it on Amazon here > >

Digital Gifts

Sometimes even the most useful and lightweight physical gifts are too much to carry around. That’s why I love the idea of giving my nomadic friends virtual gifts instead. Here are some of my favourites:

Headspace or Calm Membership

Keepingup with clients, travelling full time, running your own business, meeting new people. Phew. Being a digital nomad girl is hard work and often we forget to look after ourselves properly. One of the best things you can do to look after yourself is to look after your mind, and meditation is one of the best ways to do that.

Headspace and Calm are both meditation apps and I love and use them both. Headspace is a bit more down to earth while Calm is a bit more hippy-ish with soothing ocean sounds, gentle music and sleeping stories for adults. An annual membership is a great gift for any digital nomad girls and something they can use every day.

Spotify Membership

Everybody loves music and the best way to access it these days is via Spotify. The free version works well on desktop but if you want to listen to music while you’re on the go, you’ll need a subscription. A great gift for a nomad!

Yoga With Adriene Membership

As a nomad I spend a lot of time hunched over my laptop. I love my Roost stand but after a long day of work, my shoulders are tense even with the laptop stand. Yoga has been so helpful over the last years. It helps me relax, loosen my sore shoulders, stretch my wrists and neck.

My favourite online yoga teacher is Adriene from Yoga with Adriene. She offers a tonne of free videos on Youtube but if you want even more and want to be able to watch them offline, you can sign up to her membership and app. I love her and can really recommend this video on yoga for healthy wrists.

Netflix Membership

As digital nomads we work hard, travel hard and also chill hard Haha, ok that was super cheesy. But seriously, we all have long flights, airport layovers and train rides and what is better to pass the time than a nice Netflix binge. With the app you can even download your shows and movies to your phone and watch them offline. The perfect gift for any digital nomad.

There you go, the perfect gifts for all price ranges for Digital Nomad Girls! Whether you’re looking for a present for a DNG friend of yours or you want to give your loved ones some idea of gifts you’d enjoy, I hope you like our recommendations. Happy Christmas to you all! Ho Ho Ho!

The post The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide for Digital Nomad Girls appeared first on Digital Nomad Girls.

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Making the decision to become a freelancer is an incredibly exciting time in your life. Freelancing enables you to have more control over the work you do, often allowing for greater creativity and flexibility.

It almost sounds too good to be true, which is why you may be thinking that the title of this article is a little bit strange. What kind of freelancing mistakes could there be that might sabotage my freelancing career?

The honest truth is that taking the leap into the freelancing world can come with a lot of pressure. With no employer at your back, you’re suddenly on your own to scout for business, negotiate work and keep your clients happy. With several hats to wear, being a freelancer can sometimes feel pretty overwhelming. Mistakes can start to slip in, especially if you don’t have previous experience in running a business.

But before you throw your hands up and shelve those freelancing dreams, don’t be put off. If you’ve got the ideas and the determination, then you’re already over halfway there.

Let’s take a look at some of the biggest Freelancing mistakes new freelancers can make and how to avoid them:
1. Trying to be everything to everyone

In the early stages of your business, the temptation is there to say yes to every opportunity. It can be a good idea to get involved with as much as you can at the start. Every new piece of work you take on helps you to learn and grow.

However, the downside of spreading yourself too thinly is that you may end up diluting your brand and message. If you’re a wedding photographer who is also offering translation services, how will you know how to market yourself? You may also end up taking on work for clients that you don’t enjoy just to bring in money. This can feel incredibly demotivating.

There is a balance to strike around finding your niche in the market. In certain cases, a narrow niche may just be your ticket to success if you can find your ideal audience. Ideally, you want to hone in on your skills and what you can offer potential clients, then rinse and repeat this until you feel confident.

Perhaps further down the line, you can offer flower arranging services in addition to web design, but for now, learn how to say no and be more selective about the work you take on.

2. Lack of focus

Lack of focus follows on from the point above in many ways. If you’re scattered in your approach to what it is you’re offering your clients, it’s likely that your days will be unfocused and unproductive.

Spreading yourself too thinly in terms of client work can also affect how you schedule your time. If you’re not clear on your goals for the quarter, month, week and day, how are you going to measure your progress?

Start by mind mapping your overarching goals and then write down the top five. Reduce these by two and concentrate on the top three – any more than this is setting yourself up for a huge failure. Break down each of your goals into actionable steps, which then form the basis of your weekly and daily plans.

When you work for yourself it can be incredibly hard to focus. With no boss or manager breathing over your shoulder, it’s up to you to set your business goals. Learning how to manage your time effectively as a freelancer can be the make or break of your business.

3. Failing to communicate properly with your clients

Developing healthy working relationships with your clients is crucial for any freelancer, no matter what industry they are in. Remember to regularly communicate with your client, as they will appreciate the contact from you and it keeps both sides on track with expectations and deadlines.

Not listening to your client makes your life much more difficult. Ensure you understand their brief and the scope of the work, otherwise, you will waste their time – and yours – on work that is not completed satisfactorily.

Building stellar client relationships is a way you can retain business and ensure a positive referral or testimonial from them.

4. Not networking effectively

Building a name for yourself does not happen overnight. Networking plays a huge role in the sustainable growth of your business. Even if your business model is completely online, networking is still necessary to grow your brand.

How you present yourself – via emails, on social media, over the phone is invaluable to your reputation, winning clients and gaining repeat business.

Try reaching out to people via email or spend time contributing to a Facebook group in your niche – anything to set yourself up as a knowledgeable, friendly person in your field. Seek to connect with like-minded businesses and view them as a support system rather than competition.

The advantages of the internet are as such that networking doesn’t always have to be done in person. However, face-to-face contact helps you build your community, which can offer you support and also generate leads.

Make sure that you carve out time in your weekly schedule to interact with others. This could be going for coffee with someone in your specialism or simply catching up with friends. Being a solopreneur can often feel lonely and so taking time out to meet with others can be positive for your business as well as your health.

5. Not taking care of your finances

I know, I know. Immediate eye roll. Finances have the unfortunate rep for not being sexy. However, what’s even unsexier is being stung by an unexpectedly huge tax bill because your financial reporting is not up to scratch. Getting paid is also a priority and there’s nothing worse than chasing up outstanding invoices.

Do yourself a huge favour and carve out the time to stay on top of your income and business expenses. You can use an online service like Toggl to track your time for clients, create invoices and log payments – or you create a simple spreadsheet and do most of this yourself.

Whatever method suits your time and budget, make sure you are responsible for managing your money. Ensuring that you are meeting any required payments such as tax, health care or pension, depending on your country of residence, is also crucial.

Find time-tracking and accounting tools in our Toolbox here. Over 100 tools for Digital Nomad Girls! Download it free! 6. Undercharging for your services or working for free

Although it’s tempting to work for free as you’re building your portfolio, you have to make sure you don’t trap yourself in a cycle of low-paying work or freebies indefinitely.

You wouldn’t expect to walk into the hairdressers and not pay for your restyle, so remember that your time is worth money. It’s difficult and scary to negotiate how much you expect to be paid from your clients, but remember that your goal is to be profitable with your activities. If you’re spending too long on work or undervaluing yourself then it’s going to be more difficult to make headway towards higher quality clients.

We have a post about Freelance Pricing Strategies that you can read here. 7. Self-doubt

Self-doubt is a killer in the early stages for many freelancers and a huge obstacle to overcome. Doubt also underpins all of the other mistakes you are probably making. Without confidence in your abilities, you’ll most likely be: unfocused, undercharging, unsure of how to find and keep clients happy, struggling to run your business and more.

You may have heard of the ‘imposter syndrome’, or the whole ‘fake it until you make it’ mentality. Neither one of these is particularly positive as they just promote a lack of confidence or feelings of being out of control and out of your depth.

Believing in yourself, the skills and abilities that you have that make you uniquely special is crucial to your success. Although it may seem like the biggest challenge of them all, valuing your time, knowledge and your work will help you take your business from strength to strength.

So leave that fakery at the door and tell yourself that there is no imposter in your business. Just a hard-working, talented and deserving person who has got the ability to make it. And remember, as a freelancer you’ll always be learning new skills and adding to your portfolio.

How can you avoid making freelancing mistakes?

The concept of this article is actually a teeny bit misleading. Although it’s great to be aware of a few pitfalls as you begin freelancing, successfully avoiding them altogether is highly unlikely.

The cold hard truth is that no matter how hard you try, you’re probably going to make more than a few mistakes in the early days of your business.

But you know what? That’s ok.

Everybody goes through a similar experience and it’s how you manage the fallout from those mistakes that determines whether you continue to learn and grow.

Expect to make a few mistakes on your entrepreneurial journey. Getting things wrong is an integral part of business and the key thing is to move forward with your eyes open, learn as much as you can and seek guidance.

Do you recall any mistakes that you made in the early days of your business? It would be great to hear of the challenges you faced, but more importantly the lessons you learned in overcoming them.

Share your story with us so that we realise that we are not alone!

About our Guest Writer:

Megan is a freelance writer offering content writing services to kickass entrepreneurs and small businesses. She loves to travel, cups of tea, sloth memes and crushing people’s to-do lists one tick at a time. Catch her over at: www.smashyourtodolist.com or follow her on Pinterest or Instagram.

The post The 7 Biggest Freelancing Mistakes & How to Avoid Them appeared first on Digital Nomad Girls.

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