Meet Digital Nomad Girl Kay: Brand Storyteller & Communication Strategist

Meet Digital Nomad Girl Kay: Brand Storyteller & Communication Strategist

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 talked to Kay Fabella, brand storyteller and communication strategist.

Introduce yourself!

Hi there, I’m Kay, a Filipina-American expat entrepreneur based in Madrid. I have an ongoing love affair with Spain, my Spanish husband, and Sriracha. And I not-so-secretly wish my life was a musical.

What is your location independent job?

I am a brand storyteller and communication strategist. I help businesses to stand out with their story, to meaningfully connect with their customers, and boost their revenue through targeted online communication strategies.

We’d love to hear your story! How did you get into professional storytelling?

When a work contract fell through with no warning, I had to reinvent myself… fast!

I had always loved communication, languages, and helping people connect. So I looked into Master’s degrees in online marketing. But all of the Master’s degrees wanted someone with experience. And all the companies where I could get experience wanted candidates with Master’s degrees! What started as a way to build my portfolio as a freelancer to apply for a Master’s turned into my full-time business.

Now, I help solopreneurs to Fortune 500 companies in English and Spanish. I was also published as a storytelling expert in the Huffington Post and in El País, the largest Spanish language newspaper in the world.

What advice do you have for others? How can we use stories to help us in business?

Too many entrepreneurs I see focus on “how I sell my thing” rather than “how I can be of service.” It comes across as too pushy, too aggressive, and ultimately ends up being disastrous for their business.

No matter what industry you’re in, you have to communicate what you do in a way that connects with, convinces, and converts your audience into customers. And sharing stories is a great way to do that.

In the age of the social media, people care more about WHO you are + WHY you exist > WHAT you sell. So don’t be afraid to go past the shiny Instagram posts and show your human side once in a while, because that’s what people relate to most.

When everything on the market looks the same, your story is what determines if people like you, if they trust you, and, most importantly, if what you have to offer is worth their time. The decision as to whether or not they buy from you depends on how you make them feel. So if you don’t try to create an emotional connection with your audience first, you’ll never gain their permission to sell what you do.

kay-fabella-digital-nomad

What made you pursue a location independent life? Have you always loved travelling?

As the daughter of Filipino immigrants growing up in Los Angeles, I was exposed to many cultures at once. So I think it goes without saying that I’ve always loved travelling!

Before college, I had spent a month living in Paris and a month living in Mexico. I fell in love with the idea of travelling “deeper,” rather than checking a bunch of sights to see off a list. So I leapt at the opportunity to study abroad in Spain while at university. I came back in 2010 with the intention of staying for a year… met my now Spanish husband… and the rest is history.

I realized how lucky I was to have a business I could run from anywhere when my grandmother had her second stroke back in California in 2015. At a moment’s notice, I was able to book a flight to be with her, without having to worry about vacation days or checking with a boss.

So my idea of a location independent lifestyle has definitely evolved. I may not be a nomad moving from one country to another with my laptop. But I love that my business lets me work from wherever, especially if it’s close to the people I love.

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

I’m lucky to have an amazing support system here in Madrid, back in the US, and all over the world. And though I think my parents still don’t understand exactly what I do… they framed my El País interview even if they couldn’t understand it!

What’s been helpful is finding people who are also running online businesses, the ones who are “your kind of crazy”. Tribes like the Digital Nomad Girl group are super helpful for connecting with like-minded people who you can swap resources and experiences with!

kay-fabella-digital-nomad

What do you struggle with most when it comes to running your own business?

I’d have to say patience. You may have a grand vision for what you want to see happen. You may have certain expectations and objectives. But when other people, technology, and so many other factors are involved, you have to be willing to step back, reassess, and pivot if need be.

There’s a great quote by Bill Gates that really resonated with me: “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten.”

And I couldn’t agree more. So my new personal project is learning not to let my own ambition get the better of me. It’s a very humbling exercise, but having a strong support system and team has really helped.

What item should every Digital Nomad Girl pack on her trips?

Just one? 😉

I’d have to say all the chargers and adapters for your digital gear. And a good pair of sneakers to go exploring when you turn off your laptop.

What are you up to next travel or business-wise?

I just got back from marrying my husband in San Francisco, renting a Mustang and driving down the California coast for a month!

As for my business, I launched my first online coaching program for women entrepreneurs to help them sell with confidence using their story: Move Hearts Make Profits.

What is your favourite business/travel/self-development book you’d recommend to other digital nomad girls?

I’d have to say the Suitcase Entrepreneur: Create freedom in business and adventure in life. This year, I had the pleasure of meeting the author, Natalie Sisson, who was one of the first digital marketing gurus I followed!

And last: Do you have a favourite inspirational (or cheesy) quote you’d like to share?

“Imperfect action > perfect inaction.” It’s my go-to motto whenever I’m nervous about taking a step outside of my comfort zone… as long as you’re moving, you’re learning!

You can find Kay on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin. Check out her website in English and Spanish and visit the Story School here.

Meet Digital Nomad Girl Meg: Travel Blogger and Podcaster

Meet Digital Nomad Girl Meg: Travel Blogger and Podcaster

In our monthly Digital Nomad Girls interview series we will feature interviews with Digital Nomad Girls from around the world with interesting location independent jobs.

This month we talked to Meg Collins, travel blogger, podcaster and co-founder of the Travel Blog Monetization Summit

Introduce yourself! Where are you from, how old are you, if we may ask 🙂 and where are you currently living?

Howdy, most people call me Meg or Megsy. I’m a 32 years old Aussie gal who grew up just outside of Brisbane. Along with my boyfriend Tom we have been a digital nomads since April 2013 and we are currently hanging out in Tbilisi Georgia.

What is your location independent job (or what are you working towards)?

We are travel / food bloggers and photographers and we also run the Travel Blog Monetization Summit which teaches travel bloggers how to make money and keep travelling.

meg-collins-travel-blogger

How did you get into this line of work?

We realised that the regular 9-5 – buying a house etc was not the life for us – so we looked into ways we could do what we loved most – travel – and sustain it through an online income source.

What did you do before you became a Digital Nomad?

I was working as a wholesale travel agent specialising in Cruise Sales at Infinity Cruise Australia.

How can others do the same?

Study, study, study the profession you want to go into. Work really really hard. Sell everything and give it your best shot!

What made you pursue a life as a Digital Nomad?

We wanted to travel and have our own business. We were tired of working for other people.

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

They were all very supportive – but I don’t think they really understood what we were planning on doing. Nor do I think they realised that we could potentially travel for this long. I think they figured we’d be back home, working and starting a family like normal people long ago….

meg-collins-travel-blogger

What is your favourite city/country/beach/mountain destination to work?

For work i.e having other bloggers around and learning, we really liked Chiang Mai as there was a great community there. For affordable living, a great lifestyle, with really good internet – Tbilisi, Bucharest or Athens are some of our favourites.

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

Reliable internet. Plus feeling guilty about not seeing some parts of the cities we are in because we have to get work done. You can’t have it all.

How do you connect with and meet new people while travelling?

Couchsurfing meet ups are really great – plus we have a pretty large network of friends online all over the world. Also shout outs to groups like this are a good way to see who’s around.

meg-collins-travel-blogger

What item should every Digital Nomad Girl pack?

The first thing I thought was menstrual cup – lol. You don’t realise how difficult it can be to get the products you like using around the world – once I went menstrual cup I’ve never looked back!

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

Do it – but realise it’s not all beaches and beers – it’s hard work and you need to have many back up sources of revenue to make sure you can be secure in not running out of money.

meg-collins-travel-blogger

What are you up to next?

Off to GREECE!!!! We loooved Greece and we have booked an airbnb apartment in the heart of Athens for almost 3 months to really experience local life.

What is your favourite business/travel/lifestyle book you’d recommend to other digital nomad girls?

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy? LOL.

For the single girls out there (or even not so single girls like me) I just finished reading Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari – really interesting look into dating in today’s world of technology!!!

And last: Do you have a favourite inspirational (cheesy optional) quote you’d like to share?

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” – Hunter S Thompson

You can find Meg on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and check out her blog at http://foodfuntravel.rocks.

Meet Digital Nomad Girl Natalie! UX/UI designer and model

Meet Digital Nomad Girl Natalie! UX/UI designer and model

In our monthly Digital Nomad Girls interview series we will feature interviews with Digital Nomad Girls from around the world with interesting location independent jobs.

This month we chatted to lovely Natalie Howard, UX/UI designer, and plus size model.

Natalie UX/UI designer

Tell us a bit about yourself

I was born in Fort Worth, Texas, USA but my family moved around a lot. I’ve lived in Texas, California, Washington, and Ohio. I’m 26, and living in Columbus, OH. I’m saving up some money before I go on my next big trip.

What is your location independent job or multiple jobs?

I am a freelance UX/UI Designer and professional plus size model. UX stands for User Experience, which means I plan out and architect apps & websites and make them better and more enjoyable for people to use. UI stands for User Interface which is the visual design side of things.

Natalie UX/UI designer

How did you become a UX/UI designer? How can others do the same?

I got my first two-year degree in Visual Communications in Los Angeles- which I deeply regretted after entering the very difficult job market in 2010. When I decided to go back to college for a bachelor’s degree- I wanted to make a more informed decision. I started researching companies that I really wanted to work at and seeing what jobs they were actually hiring for. I came across a position for “Information Architect”. I had no idea what it was, but the description sounded fun and interesting, so I began researching it. I decided to go back to school for Interactive Media Design, which included some elements of user experience design and information architecture. To get into UX, requires a lot of self-direction, research, and networking skills to snag an experienced mentor. I’m apart of a Beginner’s UX group on Facebook which has been really helpful for getting feedback on my portfolio and connecting with others in the same boat.

And how did you become a location independent model?

For modeling, my experience goes back to age 15. My parents sent me to a modeling school called Barbizon, and I signed with an agency shortly after. I did small local projects like fashion shows and modeling wedding dresses for editorials. I gave up professionally pursuing modeling while I was in college, but kept on doing time-for-trade shoots for fun with local photographers. I started posting my work on social media and my fan base grew larger and larger. Eventually, a fan suggested I try applying to some agencies again for plus size modeling. I reached out to one of the top plus size modeling agencies in the country and heard back within 10 minutes! I signed with them soon after and was able to get some projects with big retail clients and a national TV commercial. Since then, I’ve branched off and found more success being my own agent and boss, since I found the agency requirements to be too restricting.

To get into modeling, you either have to 1. Build up a large social media following (a lot of agencies won’t consider you unless you have at least 10k fans/followers) 2. Research industry requirements for height and measurements- make sure you fit them. Research modeling agency’s current rosters of models to see if you have a similar look to any of their talent.

Natalie UX/UI designer

How do you manage to juggle both jobs?

I always let my UX clients know about my modeling situation and that flexibility is really important to me in case I want to take on a job. Usually they’re pretty understanding about it. The way I work with clients is based on weekly rates with deadlines for deliverables, so as long as I get the work done by the time I say I will, they trust me.

You use Patreon for your model job. What would you recommend to others if they’d like to get started with that?

With Patreon, you want to already have an existing fanbase on other platforms- it’s not a good place to gain new fans. When I started out, I looked at what other models in similar industries were doing and took notes. Then kind of mixed and matched some of their ideas with new ones I came up with. It takes a lot of time investment up front to define goals and rewards, but it’s so worth it!

What made you pursue a life as a Digital Nomad?

A friend recommended a book to me called “The 4 Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferriss. That was a massive inspiration to me. When I was younger, I was homeschooled- so I was used to being self-directed and autonomous with my work. The 9-5 work schedule never worked for me. I’m happiest when I don’t feel confined to any space in particular.

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

Nope, everyone has been really cool about it. I’ve had some confusion from people if working remotely is a totally foreign concept for them, but usually when I explain it they get excited too.

Natalie UX/UI designer

What is your favourite city/country/beach/mountain destination to work?

I love working on trains, especially through Europe. The amount of “flow” that happens for me is just incredible- they’re so peaceful. Really allows me to dig into a deep pool of creative ideas and problem solving. I worked on an app prototype while riding from Berlin to Prague earlier this year.

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

Staying disciplined and focused 😀 It’s tempting to want to go see all the attractions of an area. Can be very distracting.

How do you connect with and meet new people while travelling?

Recently, I’ve started chatting up people at restaurants or coffee shops who are sitting alone, because I often think…. nobody  (especially if they’re a traveler) came all this way to this new place to sit alone, they want to meet people too. So that’s been fun- and sometimes I meet people through mutual friends, networking events, Magpie, Digital Nomad FB groups, or even Tindr 😉

What item should every Digital Nomad Girl pack?

I have an expandable, waterproof hip belt I bought from Target that I love. I just put the bare minimum in there- credit cards, keys, etc. Was great for when I was riding a lot of scooters and easily hides under tshirts.

Natalie UX/UI designer

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

Research! I think logistics are the scariest part- What am I going to do with my apartment? My stuff? How am I going to make money? There’s a lot of people asking the same questions in Digital Nomad communities, so it makes you feel more encouraged and less lonely to meet like minded people.

What are your future travel plans?

I would love to do 3 months in the countryside of France 🙂 Have a slow life by the pool, ride scooters, buy fresh produce and baked goods, drink wine, and seduce and be seduced by Frenchmen.

And last: Do you have a favourite inspirational (cheesy optional) quote you’d like to share?

“A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.” -Tim Ferriss

You can find Natalie on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and her own website is coming very soon! Make sure to check it out: www.nhoward.com

Have you ever considered being a location independent UX/UI designer and/or model? Please share in the comments!

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