How to Save Time & Sanity Using Email Templates: A Digital Nomad Girls Quick Tip

How to Save Time & Sanity Using Email Templates: A Digital Nomad Girls Quick Tip

Welcome to our brand new Quick Tip series on the Digital Nomad Girls Blog! Every week we will bring you simple, quick tips that will help you run your location independent business. How to Save Time & Sanity Using Email Templates.

Please put up your hand if you’ve ever wanted to throw your laptop at the wall because you were struggling with a niggling tech issue for hours and hours.

Is your hand up? Thought so.

And often all it takes to figure out your annoying tech problem is to ask one of your clever friends and suddenly you can’t even remember why you struggled with it so much in the first place.

Right?

Like every Digital Nomad, I have been there so many times and that’s why I thought it would be awesome to share all these little tidbits of wisdom with you, to help you save time and sanity. In bite-sized chunks, or quick tips.

The first one I’d like to share is a tip my awesome friend Susannah, a freelance writer, shared with me today.

No matter if you’re running your own business, are a freelancer or a remote employee, emails will probably take up a good chunk of your time each day. And often it feels like we’re writing and sending the same email over and over again, right?

Well, that’s because we often are doing exactly that. Today I found out that you can save emails that you use all the time directly in Gmail to re-use future, which is super helpful if you get the same question or request over and over again. And I’ll quickly share with you how that works so you can save a ton of time each week and not feel like you’re going crazy repeating yourself.

So here’s our first quick tip: How to Save Time & Sanity by Using Email Templates

 

Step 1: Activate Gmail Templates

 

Click the gear icon in Gmail and click on Settings

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Then click on Labs in the top navigation bar

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In the search bar type ‘canned responses’, then tick the enable box and save the changes.

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Step 2: Create an Email Template

Click on ‘compose’ to write a new email.

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Write the text you’d like to use as a template, then click on the little grey downward arrow in the bottom right corner, select ‘Canned Responses’ and then ‘New Canned Response’.

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You can then give it a name and hit save.

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Your template will now be saved and you can insert it into any new email. Here’s how:

 

Step 3: Using your Email Template

Click ‘Compose’ to write a new email. Then click the little grey downward arrow in the bottom right corner, ‘Canned Responses’ and under Insert pick the saved template you’d like to use.

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IMPORTANT: Be sure to change your Subject Line because Gmail will automatically use the name you gave your template email. That could be awkward, right?

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Then finish customising your email, add your recipient and hit send.

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Ta da!! You just set up and sent your first template email. Woohoo!

 

I really hope this tip was helpful for you and will save you heaps of time in the future. Do you have any handy Gmail tips? Please share them in the comments below!

Our Our Top 13 Productivity Tools for Digital Nomad Girls

Our Our Top 13 Productivity Tools for Digital Nomad Girls

 

As Digital Nomads we have to juggle a lot at once: working (often for ourselves), travelling to wonderful new places always searching for good wifi wherever we go. We also have to stay productive, keep in touch with family and friends and get all our work done so we can enjoy ourselves and explore new countries.

But don’t despair, because the secret to it all is in the name: digital nomad. We have access to a host of incredible tools that helps us stay focused, organised and on track. Here are our top 13 productivity tools for Digital Nomad Girls:

Let’s get started!

 

There are hundreds if not thousands of project management tools available and it’s so hard to pick the right one. Don’t worry about looking through them all because we’ve picked our favourite ones for you: Asana and Trello.

Trello

Trello is available for free for smartphone and desktop and you can use it to basically organise your whole life. Based around project boards and cards, it’s a visual tool that is simple, flexible and even fun. You can add different members if you’re working on a collaboration, assign due dates to different tasks that are added to the integrated project calendar. Team members can use the message function which makes communication quick and easy. Plan any project, from your start-up to your next visa run or family holiday with Trello.

Trello is one of our top productivity tools for digital nomad girls

 

Asana

Asana is another free tool that is really popular for project management, especially if you’re working with a team. Asana is list-based but now also offers card view, similar to Trello. We really like that you can set recurring tasks, assign tasks to team members and set due dates for each task which then show up in one central calendar. It’s definitely a powerful tool and can help you organise anything from projects to your blog or a whole launch.

 

Evernote

While Trello is perfect to plan any project, Evernote is like your virtual filing cabinet. Need to keep a receipt? Snap a pic of it and file it away in Evernote. Lost that business card of that awesome girl you met at a networking event? No problem, because you’ve snapped a pic and filed it away carefully. You can add to-do lists and create folders for every aspect of your life. Don’t worry about carrying important documents around with you, they are all safely stowed away in Evernote.

 

LastPass Password Manager

If you’re like me you’ve spent many hours of your life cursing at the screen because you can’t remember a password. We are told we should use unique passwords for every site we log in to, but seriously, there’s just no way to remember a million passwords without help.

But don’t worry, your life will be much easier soon. Introducing LastPass, a FREE password management system, that helps you keep track of all your passwords and even helps you create safe ones, so you don’t have to use your birthday anymore. It’s easy to use and even available for smartphone for a small fee. Never fight with your passwords again.

 

Work Hard Anywhere

Work Hard Anywhere is an Android and iOS app for freelancers, entrepreneurs and digital nomads to find wifi around the world. It’s basically a map that shows you cafes, libraries and coworking spaces around you with reliable wifi. They currently feature over 7800 places with wifi in over 1700 cities around the world. Users can add their favourite working spots, so the database is constantly growing. 

Work Hard Anywhere is one of our top productivity tools for digital nomad girls

 

Hootsuite

If you have social media channels for your business you will want to use an app like Hootsuite to schedule your posts. Especially while in transit it can be a huge hassle to keep track of all your posts and platforms. And if you have to add different time zones into the equation it get’s really messy.

Hootsuite is free to use and will help you manage all your social media work, even if you’re on a 30 hour flight or on a multi-day jungle trek.

 

NomadList.com

Nomad List is a great online resource that assigns a “Nomad Score” to destinations. The criteria taken into account are availability of high speed wifi, cost of living, weather and safety. It’s a great starting point to research potential new destinations and gives you 3 different monthly costs of living: local, expat and nomad. From our experience a realistic budget usually lies between the nomad and expat costs.

 

1-Click-Timer Chrome Extension

Google Chrome is one of the most popular web browsers on the market, and for good reason. One of the features that makes Chrome so awesome for Digital Nomads is the extensive library of free Chrome extensions. We will soon feature our favourite Chrome extensions in a separate post, but we wanted to mention a really cool one here: 1-click-timer is a super simple timer that is used for the Pomodoro technique.

Pomodoro means you set yourself a timer (a simple kitchen timer works, but is a bit cumbersome to travel with) for a certain amount of time and then work on one task or project without distractions for that amount of time. Between two Pomodoros you take a break of a few minutes to rest your eyes, and recharge a bit. The 1-Click-Timer extension is one of the best timer apps we found and is one of our favourite productivity tools for digital nomad girls.

One click timer is one of our top productivity tools for digital nomad girls

 

Slack

It’s so hard to pick just one communication tool, but Slack is definitely our favourite one. It’s super simple, works on all devices and lets you streamline your messages by using different channels. Slack is really easy to set up and free to use. You can also customise your notification settings for each channel to make sure you take some time off and unplug once in a while.

 

Google Drive/Docs/Sheets

What did we DO before Google Drive? I seriously have no idea. Google Drive is one the best tools to store your documents and files on the cloud. You only need a Gmail address to log-in to your Google Drive and Google even gives you 15GB for free, which is plenty. It’s such a great tool to share documents and photos with people and you can adjust the privacy of each document or folder separately which is often really helpful. Google Docs and Sheets basically replaces Word and Excel and all your files can be accessed from around the world. If you’re not using it yet, you’re missing out.

 

Calendly

Another one of those tools where you ask yourself how you ever managed without it. Calendly is a simple appointment scheduling tool. You create a profile, set up different types of meetings (15-minutes, 30-minutes etc) and fill in your availability. Then you send out your custom Calendly link to your clients and friends and they can pick a time that works for them and book an appointment with you.

The best feature is that Calendly takes your time zone and that of the person booking the appointment into account. This means never missing skype calls again or showing up on (your) time just to realise the other person is still asleep. It has a free version to sue that supports one type of event (I use the 30-minute event) or you can pay a fee to enable more events and unlock other features.

 

Zapier

If you’re not using Zapier yet, you’re seriously losing out on some productivity magic. Zapier basically lets you connect all your favourite tools, helping to automate your processes. For example, if you’re using Typeform (which you should) for a survey or as an application form, you can create a Zap (that’s what the connections are called) between Typeform and Trello (for example). Every time someone fills in your Typeform, Zapier automatically creates a new card on a list on board that you specified. And that’s just one of millions of options!

Zapier is one of our top productivity tools for digital nomad girls

 

Skype

An oldie but goodie, Skype is still one of the best ways to communicate with people and whole teams world wide. No matter if you want to call your gran for her birthday or if you have an important conference call with your boss back home, use Skype for hassle free audio and video calls. You can even call landlines and mobile phones for a fraction of what it would cost to use your mobile or a hotel phone. Skype also lets you hold calls with multiple people and you can share your screen which can be super useful.

 

With so many awesome (and free!) tools you can stay productive and save precious time that is better spent exploring and making new friends. Are you using any of these tools? Or do you have other favourite tools? Please share in the comments below!

 

Disclaimer: Some of the links used here are affiliate links. What does that mean? It means that at no cost to you, we will receive a small commission if you use our link to sign up to some of these tools. We never recommend any tools that we don’t love to use ourselves. So, It’s basically a win-win 🙂

Meet Digital Nomad Girl Aline: Founder of Nomad Soulmates

Meet Digital Nomad Girl Aline: Founder of Nomad Soulmates

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 Aline Dahmen, founder of Nomad Soulmates

Introduce yourself!

I’m Aline, 23 years old and founder of Nomad Soulmates. I’m currently living in Chiang Mai for the next 2 months.

What is your location independent job?

I’m in a transition at the moment. I started as a Virtual Assistant, which I’m still doing, but also offering network marketing and coaching for community building. I’m also running the largest facebook community and startup for single remote workers called Nomad Soulmates, which I absolutely love!

You started a community called Nomad Soulmates. Please tell us a bit about it.

Nomad Soulmates is online dating for remote workers, digital nomads and location independent people. It is a quick growing and really awesome community in the facebook group. Most are very much involved in the developing process, helping us to shape an app that suits their needs. Together we are launching our Indiegogo Campaign for this app on February 14th.

How did you get the idea? Is there a personal story behind it?

Absolutely. I totally understand what others struggle with. I had a boyfriend for 5 years back home, but our values changed over time – I wanted to travel, see the world, bootstrap my own business and live independently. That was something he was not into. Also, a long distance relationship just would not have worked out.

Love has its own rules, but in general I found it difficult to find someone who was willing to join me on a location independent adventure. I was not really searching for a nomadic partner after we broke up, but at a big nomad conference I realized that many other nomads had problems similar to mine.

My first thoughts was “is there is an easier way to bring nomadic singles together”.  My excitement for this idea also comes from our community. It’s simply my tribe and I love working closely with them. A lot of people are supporting our mission, which has been a mindblowing experience.

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

Well, I didn’t study or have training back home after I finished school, which is why most were not really happy with my decision. They were scared that I had taken the ‘wrong’ path for my future, and for personal and financial security. My parents had a hard time with this, as I said no to all of those things and went to Asia with an 8kg backpack instead.

Over time I was able to support myself with the freelance work that I did, I learned everything myself and found a great passion in Nomad Soulmates, especially when it comes to marketing and building our community. It’s great to see that my parents now really believe in what I’m doing and are proud of what I’ve already accomplished.

My dad is an engineer and he would send me ideas how to market our crowdfunding campaign via whatsapp, which I find super lovely. And my mum is a pro in design and wording so she gave me her opinion on the app screens. I guess, little by little, they are understanding that this lifestyle makes me a very happy person.

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

Hmm, I have a lot of great spots, but maybe this simple treehouse in Ko Lanta, right in front of the beach, was one of my favorites. At the moment, I’m a huge fan of Chiang Mai’s coffee shop culture.

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

Saying goodbye so often to many great friends. I know with many that I’ll cross paths again, but still – it sucks. Also when it comes to working, the worst feeling is working long hours but not being productive – I struggle to just stop, get a fresh mind, and then finish work later. It’s something I want to work on.

How do you connect with and meet new people while travelling (apart from Nomad Soulmate)?

I’m a great fan of offline connections and I’m an extrovert at heart. So I love going to conferences, events, hangouts and more that are happening around me. Plus I love connecting with locals, so I’m making a great effort to actually make local friends and learn about their country and culture.

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

OMG, I’m so excited about my new bluetooth headphones! I can walk away from my laptop and still listen to my music – it is revolutionary to me, but not a new thing haha.

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

Passion played such a big role in my mindset that made it actually happen – for me there was no plan B at all. Be passionate about it, always be open to learn and make it to one of your first priorities to earn your first dollar online. Everything else comes (almost) automatically. You feel a lot more confidence for sure! Also, be prepared for hard times – I had to face very difficult times (disagreement with my family in the beginning, a lack of money, extra work pressure, different time zones etc.).  

What are your next travel plans?

That’s a good question. Burning season is arriving soon in Chiang Mai. I might flee to Vietnam as my sisters will be there on holiday. Would be really awesome to catch up with them. But to be honest, I have no idea yet where I actually want to go next.

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

I truly believe that whatever you wanna achieve in life, it’s will happen if you envisage your dreams and stick to them. But it’s not easy. Every single baby step I have taken so far was actually made so I could be here in Asia now, creating my own projects, AND enjoying life! I truly believe every journey is made by your own decisions. Choose wisely.

Do you find it hard to meet like-minded singles while travelling? Please share in the comments!

You can find Aline on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram . Check out Nomad Soulmates and check out her Indiegogo Campaign here.

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.

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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!

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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.

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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….

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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.

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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.

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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.

What I Learned During My First Month as a Full-Time Freelancer

What I Learned During My First Month as a Full-Time Freelancer

I spent my first day as a full-time freelancer spectacularly hungover.

I’ll admit, it was not the most auspicious (or romantic) beginning to my new self-employed life, but I’d spent the evening before at a send-off party with my now-former co-workers, and I was riding the excitement and fear of what I’d just done: quit my job, cut down my safety net, and convinced myself that this was something I could actually do.

The next thirty days were a learning experience, and as with most things in life, some things lined up with my expectations. Others didn’t, and there have been more than a few surprises along the way. Here are just some of the things I learned during that first month as my own boss.

Getting sick is terrible when you’re self-employed

What’s worse than being hungover your first day on the job? Getting sick the week after. The fates were not on my side in early September, and I had a nasty little cold that lasted for a solid week. While I could physically still write for my clients, I was very slow and unproductive. It was a harsh reminder that I would no longer be paid when I feel like I’ve been run over by a truck.

A support system is an absolute necessity

I was seriously on the fence about attending the Digital Nomad Girls retreat in Javea. After all, I’d just left my job and didn’t have enough clients to replace all of my income yet. Wouldn’t it be foolish to drop a grand and jet off to Spain?

I did it anyway—and I’m so glad I did

What I Learned In My First Month as a Full-Time Freelancer

The women I met there just got me. This was my community, my new support system for a life that can feel very isolating and scary at times. I learned a lot of practical skills while I was there, but more importantly, I learned that I do know more than I think I do. I am worth more than I think I am. And I am totally capable of making my dream work.

My new friends are all tackling the same problems I am and have the same insecurities and fears—but they’re all doing amazing work and taking the world by storm. When women support one another, great things happen.

We laughed, we cried, we listened. It was an intense week, and the perfect way to kick off my new life.

What I Learned In My First Month as a Full-Time Freelancer

The stress is different

Do I still have stress? Of course!

Is it the same kind of stress?

Not even a little bit.

As a freelancer, my stress mainly focuses on money, raising my rates, and getting new clients instead of the day-to-day work I do. My opinion? It’s a much better type of stress to have.

I am very bad at time management

I am a procrastinator–always have been. I hesitate to say that I always will be, because miracles do happen, but the possibility of this one coming true seems remote.

I have never had so much time alone with my own thoughts. I wander from one task to another; check Facebook; read an article that catches my eye instead of finishing the draft of the one in front of me. My fear of deadlines is the only thing that keeps me in check. Somehow, I finish everything. Every time. I am NOT good at time management, and it’s something that is constantly a work in progress.

Days of the week matter less than they used to

I constantly have to remind myself what day of the week it is. They all kind of run together now that I have nowhere to be. I live my life by deadlines, but when I think about my schedule, the urgency is just not there anymore—it doesn’t have to be. I wake up every morning and it’s just another day, a day that moves quickly because I’m always doing something. The weeks feel shorter.

I can go anywhere and do anything

During that first month, I found myself at yoga at noon on a Thursday. Now, I can plan my writing around my exercise and appointments instead of the other way around. Even though I’m not a full time nomad, the freedom of setting my own schedule and choosing where I work is extremely liberating.

What I Learned In My First Month as a Full-Time Freelancer

I’ve always been a traveller, but now I can plan any trip I want as long as I can fund it. I can spend 7 weeks with my family and take quick weekends on a whim with friends. There is nothing holding me back from this big world, and I can’t wait to see as much of it as I can.

My home is a peaceful oasis

I love my slow mornings. These days I have the luxury of cooking myself the breakfast I want, going for a run, doing a little yoga, and starting work a little too late. My home is a peaceful oasis on the weekdays when everyone is at work, and the only noises are my fingers on the keyboard and the dog shifting in his sleep.

What I Learned In My First Month as a Full-Time Freelancer

Going out means more

I like to think that I always try to look cute when I go out, but now that my ventures are more infrequent, my opportunities to show off my wardrobe are limited. I put more effort into my outfits than I did before and walk with renewed confidence because I know I look good.

What I Learned In My First Month as a Full-Time Freelancer

It’s really scary

I fly into a panic at times, because I’m not productive, or I’m not making enough money, or there just aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish everything that needs to be done. But then I take a deep breath and remind myself that nothing is perfect, and that it will get easier with time and practice.

Life goes on

As a fortune cookie once said to me, “Only those who dare, truly live.” There are so many reasons to love self-employment: the freedom, the ability to linger in the small pleasures of a life lived slowly. On the flip side, there’s the loneliness, the uncertainty–the knowledge that it really is all on you.

It’s hard. It’s hard because life is hard, but you know what? The fear I feel over finding new clients and pleasing the ones I have is small potatoes compared to the lifelessness I felt every day getting up to work for someone else. And that feeling is enough to let me know I’ve made the right decision.

Susannah Bruck is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for travel. She spends her time visiting exotic locales, cooking new dishes, gaming, and writing her dystopian novel. You can find her at www.susannahbruck.com and www.welltraveledwriter.com (coming soon!).

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