DNG presents Online Job of the Month: Online English Teacher

DNG presents Online Job of the Month: Online English Teacher

 

In our new blog series ‘Online Job of the Month’ we share the most interesting online jobs with you. You might think only web developers and graphic designers can be digital nomads. But there are actually a wide variety of interesting (and profitable) jobs out there for aspiring Digital Nomad Girls. This month we will tell you all about working as an Online English Teacher. 

If you’re curious about other online jobs, check out our features on Social Media Managers, Virtual Assistants and Online Editors

We talked to Emma Wolno, Laura Lee and Gery Ciftcioglu who are successfully working as Online English Teachers while travelling the world. So without further ado, let’s dive in!

 

What exactly is an Online English Teacher? What do they do?

Emma says that as an Online English Teacher, essentially”I teach children in China English lessons over a video conferencing platform. Because of the huge demand in China, there are lots of Online English Teaching companies.”

So what does Emma do? “My duties are teaching 25 minute lessons to 5-12 year olds. I teach them vocabulary, help them practice their speaking skills, and a little bit of grammar as well.”

online english teacher digital nomad girls job of the month

Gery does similar things in her job in that, “I conduct one on one lessons over the phone or Skype. There is little lesson preparation where I have to get familiar with student’s goals and previous lessons, and after the lesson, I have to write a short report of what we’ve done and what the homework is as well as what the student is supposed to do in the next lesson.”

Laura says that DaDa (the English teaching company she works for) makes things easy for her, in that “All the lessons are prepared so I can roll out of bed twenty minutes before classes start, put on my blue t-shirt and I’m ready to go! When I first started I’d spend a little time flicking through the lessons but after a while they become so familiar even that isn’t necessary anymore…

I spend a few hours teaching then head to a cafe to write my after class assessments. This usually takes around twenty to thirty minutes (longer if I get sucked into Facebook!)”

Laura also adds that, “With DaDa you get assigned regular students, most of mine I’ve been teaching for an entire year now. I love that I get to see them progress and you really do start to feel like part of the family! I’ve been introduced to my students’ families, friends, pets and I’ve even been taken on a holiday or two (via the webcam of course).”

That sounds so lovely!

 

What kind of skills do I need to become an Online English Teacher?

The most important skills are:

  • good command of the English language
  • being able to conceptualize a lesson, break things down, and explain ideas well
  • understanding what students need and want from you as a teacher
  • being friendly and enthusiastic!

Laura mentions that, “Don’t worry if you don’t have any teaching experience, it obviously doesn’t hurt, but it isn’t a requirement!”

All agree that you have to be warm, enthusiastic and have high energy. “The kids are often young and maybe haven’t interacted with foreigners that much, so they expect you to be very friendly and animated for the younger children. ” Emma added.

Laura believes that, “If you enjoy working with kids, have lots of energy and are able to adapt to different situations, you can teach online.”

In terms of working online, Gery adds that “you need to be skilled in planning your time and in working well independently.”

That is a job requirement for most online or remote-based jobs! I speak from experience. 🙂 If you need help with productivity while working online, check out our blog post on that here.

 

Do you need any qualifications or certificates?

Laura shares that mostly it depends on the company; some have requirements that others don’t. “Most companies, including DaDa, require a Bachelor’s degree in any subject, it doesn’t have to be in teaching. DaDa also usually accepts a TEFL certificate and teaching experience as an alternative,” she adds.

Gery agrees that “Most companies require you to have a CELTA or TEFL certificate in addition to a Bachelors degree, which could be in anything.” Emma adds that, “A TEFL or TESOL course will definitely help you get hired, but wasn’t required for my VIPKID.”

All three of the interviewed mention that your Bachelor’s degree does not have to in teaching or English language – you just need to have a degree in something!

online english teacher digital nomad girls job of the month

What about being a native English speaker? Gery mentions, “It also helps if you are a native speaker, but for many employers, that isn’t a necessity. Some companies are interested in hiring bilingual teachers as well.”

Laura suggests to those interested in becoming an Online English Teacher: “If you’re new to teaching it might be worth getting an online TEFL to improve your chance of being offered higher pay. You can get one on Groupon for a few dollars and they don’t usually take long to complete!”

Emma also recommends, “You could use mentoring, tutoring or even babysitting experience to show you can work with young kids. I had done a few months of teaching English in Cambodia, but I also used my two years as a Snowboarding instructor when I applied!”

 

Where do you find jobs as an Online English Teacher?

This is probably one of the first question you’d like answered before getting into any field, as a nomad or not. And the answers might surprise you.

The demand is apparently huge, which is great news for you!

Emma says, “You can find them online by researching the various companies and applying. The demand is so huge as more and more kids in China are learning English, so there are tons of companies that are almost always hiring. Some are better than others, so be sure to review them carefully and read a few blogs. There is also a lot of great information of YouTube!”

Laura recommends that “Social media and word of mouth are the way to go! There are plenty of Facebook groups, YouTube channels and blogs for online teachers. I recommend joining a few and seeing what people have to say about the different companies. You can find out a lot from speaking to current teachers.”

Gery echos the statements of the other two that doing your research is key, “I began by reading in the facebook group ‘Online ESL Reviews‘. Its members shared very valuable information about schools, conditions and personal experiences from the jobs. Then I went to the remote jobs websites. TEFL.com also publishes online job offers. Another one is teachaway.com but the best source of information are the people in the Facebook group.”

So in summary: do your research! Google for reviews, ask in Facebook groups, and make sure you apply to a company that you really love.

 

How much can I earn as an Online English Teacher?

It depends.

“If you are a native speaker willing to teach kids, you may be able to earn as much as 25-30 USD an hour. If you are experienced and have a good, clear accent but you aren’t native and you don’t want to work with young children or their parents, you may be able to make up to 16 USD or euros an hour” says Gery.

online english teacher digital nomad girls job of the month

Laura works with DaDa and says that there, “the maximum pay advertised is $25 per hour. Realistically though, starting rates are more likely to be between $15 and $20 depending on your qualifications, experience and performance in your demo class.”

Emma says, “If you do this job part-time or as a side-hustle such as I do, you can expect to take home an extra $400-$1000 per month. The hourly wage can be anywhere from $14-26 to USD an hour.”

So in general, the hourly rate for being an Online English Teacher seems to be around the range of $14 – $20, with the highs being at $25 – $30.

What about bonuses? Laura says, “A lot of companies also offer bonuses for various things! With DaDa, we get bonuses for converting trial students, retaining regular students and we can even collect points to exchange for Amazon vouchers.”

 

How do Online English Teachers price their services? Hourly, per project, per word?

“Most companies will give you a base rate determined on your experience and education. From there you can get small bonuses to increase your wage. It might be possible to charge higher rates if you worked directly with individuals to teach/tutor them English, but of course it’s harder to find clients and with a company it’s all sorted for you” Emma says.

Laura says that, “Generally companies pay by class. Some companies only pay for the classes you have scheduled, others such as DaDa, pay standby time. This means that if at any point during your contract hours a class is cancelled or a space isn’t filled you are still guaranteed to get half pay for that time.”

Gery says that for her it’s “usually per hour. This may vary from employer to employer but some companies let you negotiate your price and others are very rigid.”

 

Is it easy to work as an Online English Teacher while travelling?

So… what’s it actually like to work as a traveling Online English Teacher? Are you able to balance traveling and working set times?

“Absolutely! All you need is a laptop with a webcam, a headset, a decent wifi connection and maybe a puppet or two. A quiet space is definitely preferable but I know teachers who have taught in hostels, airports and even on a train through India, so anything is possible!

 

I’m currently travelling around Eastern Europe and this is my only job. I left the UK with zero savings and I have been able to support myself and even save a little money too! I travel slowly and stay in AirBnBs so working full time suits me.

If you want more flexibility, I’d recommend choosing just a few contract hours (four hours a week is the minimum) and adding extra hours to your schedule when you find places with great wifi” Laura suggests.

Gery agrees and says, “I’d say it is relatively easy. You need to have a good internet connection, a quiet environment, and a good set of headphones with a microphone.

Emma also agrees with the other two, saying “Definitely! The great thing about VIPKID is that they don’t mind if you take time off, and no one will really notice. It’s not like a traditional job where you ask for time off, you either open your schedule for classes or you don’t. So sometimes I’ll work a lot one week and then take some time off.

If I want to do the job while on the road, that’s possible, too. My only recommendation is to make sure you stay in an Airbnb or get a private room, hostels would not be ideal. VIPKID likes you to have props in the classroom, so I recommend buying a mini whiteboard and a few lightweight supplies to bring along. I’ve also started using a software called Manycam, which allows you to display graphics and rewards on your screen, which is perfect for traveling as you don’t need to bring anything really!”
So the consensus is yes! Being an Online English Teacher is a nomad approved job. 

 

What would you recommend to other nomad girls who’d like to get started working as an Online English Teacher?

Laura says: “Do your research.” There are hundreds of companies out there and some will suit you better than others. Decide what is important to you and go from there.

She suggests asking yourself:

  • Do you want to teach adults or children?
  • Would you prefer to teach one to one or groups?
  • Do you want to teach on a laptop or from your phone?
  • Do you want to use pre-prepared lessons or make your own?

Laura says, “Answering these questions will help you figure out what you’re looking for in a company and help you narrow down your search! Once you’ve found a company that suits you, find a recruiter or referrer who will help you through the process. Having someone to answer all your questions and give you advice can help take a lot of stress out of the process.

If you’re interested in working with DaDa and would like me to help you through the application process, feel free to send me an email or a message on Facebook! Working online can be lonely so I recommend finding a support network. Most companies have their own Facebook groups and these can be a place to meet other teachers, share student stories and ask questions.” If you’re thinking about working with DaDa, you can find Laura’s information below! 

online english teacher digital nomad girls job of the month

Emma also agrees that the first step should be to research. She says, “I would recommend doing some research about the different companies and seeing what would be a good fit for you. If you are concerned about your lack of teaching experience, you could start taking an online TEFL course to boost your confidence and get yourself classroom ready.

The application for VIPKID is the hardest part (it’s quite lengthly) so I would highly recommend reaching out to an experienced teacher for tips on the interview process. If you’d like to chat with me I would be happy to refer you and give you some tips on how to get hired,” so make sure to reach out to Emma if you need tips! Her info is below as well.

 

There you go future Online English Teacher. If you’re a friendly, enthusiastic person who likes teaching and has great English, teaching English online might just be the perfect digital nomad job for you. I hope we answered all your questions, if you have any more, please leave them in the comments and our girls and I will try our best to answer them all.

If you’re curious about even more jobs that you can do online, check out our series on the 50+ digital nomad girl jobs to inspire you!

 

Are you an interested in becoming an Online English Teacher? Please share below!

If you enjoyed this post, please share it with others who might like it too!

To find out more about the girls you can find their author bios below:

Emma Wolno

Emma Wolno is an Online English Teacher. Originally from Ottawa, Canada, she is currently based in Berlin! You can get in touch with her via her Website or her Instagram.

Laura Lee

Laura Lee is an online English teacher who runs a blog that share tips for teaching online and how to get started teaching with DaDa! She’s from Nottingham in the UK and is now travelling around Eastern Europe. You can connect with her on Facebook or her Website.

Gery Ciftcioglu

Gery is originally from Bulgaria, but currently lives in Istanbul, Turkey. You can find her on Facebook or her Website.

3 Signs That It’s Time To Scale Your Business

3 Signs That It’s Time To Scale Your Business

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.

 

3 Signs that it's time to Scale Your Business Image 1

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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10 Digital Nomad Girls Share How they found their first online client

10 Digital Nomad Girls Share How they found their first online client

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!

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DNG Presents Online Job of the Month: Social Media Manager

DNG Presents Online Job of the Month: Social Media Manager

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 Walker, a social media manager wearing a pretty outfit. Vicky Walker, a social media manager snaps a selfie in another colorful city.

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 Collard, a social media manager snaps a selfie in front of some really colorful buildings in Denmark! Lisa Collard, a social media manager sitting in a field of sunflowers. Lisa Collard, a social media manager takes this photo sitting on a camels back in the dessert.

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 7 Biggest Freelancing Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

The 7 Biggest Freelancing Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

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Why Every Digital Nomad Girl Needs a Website (and Everything you need to get started)

Why Every Digital Nomad Girl Needs a Website (and Everything you need to get started)

If you’d love to create your own WordPress website but all the different terms and lingo make your head buzz (plugins, themes, hosts, domains, aaarghh!) then this is the guide for you. We’ll show you why every digital nomad needs a website and explain all the terms you need to understand to get started.

This post includes some affiliate links to products we love and use <3

 

Today I’m going to talk about something that is really important for any (aspiring) digital nomad girl out there, and that’s: websites!

I know there can be a huge barrier to creating your first own website, and I totally get it as I was there myself, not that long ago.

I remember how hard it was for me when I first started out – the jargon was confusing and the sheer volume of information was overwhelming. So I took it step by step, ended up falling in love with WordPress and now I even design websites for other people sometimes.

My website helped me get great clients, put myself out there and learn great new skills. That’s why I think it’s so important that every digital nomad girl has her own website.

 

Every digital nomad girl, I hear you ask? Yes, each one of you.

Digital nomads are entrepreneurs, freelancers, bloggers and Jills of all Trades, but no matter your background, profession or experience, you should have your own website and here’s why:

Take Control

Ok, so maybe you’re a freelancer and you find all your work on platforms like Upwork or People Per Hour. You might be making a great living, but you have no control over the platform you’re using. One day, Upwork might decide to double its fees (like they did in May 2016), or close down, or get hacked. Then what? As unlikely as it sounds, technology changes quickly and it’s risky to put all your work eggs into one basket. Having your own website means you are in control.

Brand yo’self

Freelancing is becoming increasingly popular. A LinkedIn profile or Facebook page are not enough to really stand out from the crowd. Freelancers are starting to understand the power of personal branding and your website plays an important role in your brand. It is your own little corner of the web that you can make completely yours. Instead of having to please every potential client, you can talk to the audience you want to attract, and be authentic and real, all while remaining professional.

 

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Be found more easily

Whether you’re looking for takeout dinner, cute kittens or a quote about a new kitchen, where do you turn?

Google, that’s right.

And so will your potential clients. Having your own professional website will make it easier for clients to find your services, especially if you’ve positioned yourself as a professional in your niche. You want to be on different platforms, use social networks AND have your own web presence to make it as easy as possible for others to find you.

Collect leads

A website is much more than a business card or portfolio. You can use it to collect leads and grow your email list, which is one of the most powerful marketing tools available to online entrepreneurs and freelancers. Don’t miss out on this chance to grow your list, even if you don’t think you need one yet.

Increase your credibility and showcase your portfolio

Even if you find your work through word of mouth or through freelancing platforms, your own website gives you credibility. And let’s face it, we are digital nomads, not just nomads. Your own website shows you’re serious about your business and a professional. You can showcase past work, share testimonials from past clients who loved working with you and show new clients all you have to offer them.

So you see, having your own website brings huge advantages.

But why do so many digital nomads not have a website yet? Because it’s scary! For non-techies it can be especially daunting. Do I need to learn code? Which platform do I choose? Will I design it myself or do I have to spend a fortune for a web designer? The good news is that over the last years it has become so much easier and intuitive to build your own website, and it doesn’t need cost a ton either. Some of you won’t have the time or patience to create your own websites either, and that’s totally fine as well. But if you are playing with the thought, read on to find out how to get started.

Here’s how you can create your own professional website using WordPress. I will talk you through each step and use super simple language.

 

Which platform?

Well, let’s just say there are MANY platforms out there. Some of the most popular are SquareSpace, Wix, Weebly and WordPress. To make it even more confusing, WordPress has two different versions!

Two different WordPresses??? Why oh why?

There is the free-to-use, but much less powerful WordPress.com, and the fully flexible WordPress.org which requires self-hosting (we’ll talk about what that means in a minute). There are pros and cons to each of these platforms, but today we will only talk about WordPress.org.

The reason I think WordPress is the best option is that it is 100% customisable, it’s affordable and you own all your content. Many other platforms technically own your content (it’s in the footnotes, I checked). And while you will have to pay for your own hosting, and possibly even a theme, with WordPress, it’s still one of the cheapest options.

Ok, so you believe me that WordPress is a great option to get started? Awesome! Here’s what you’ll need to know to create your own WordPress website:

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Domains: your website’s address

The domain name is the name of your website and the address that allows others to find it, like real addresses help people find your house. Every website needs a domain name, so you will have to think of a good one. Many freelancers use their own names (if still available), or you can think of a unique name for your business.

Make sure it’s recognisable, easy to spell and professional. You can register your domain (buy it) from any domain provider or even from your hosting provider (which we’ll talk about next). Depending on the provider and the type of domain (.com, .co.uk, etc.) you will pay around $10 per domain per year. GoDaddy is a good option and you can find a link to them here.

Hosting: a place for your website to live

If you’ve looked into WordPress.com and .org before, you probably came across the word “hosting”. It sounds a bit daunting, like something out of Star Wars, right? That’s how I felt when I first started making sense of WordPress. Basically, a host is like your landlord. Hosting companies own servers, and your website will live on one of these servers. There are many different types of hosting, but a simple plan will be more than enough when you’re just starting out.

I personally use Siteground for all my websites now because they have amazing customer service, are really affordable and are very reliable. You can get hosting for one year from around $4 per month, and they take their customer support very seriously at Siteground (I have spent many a fine hour on their live chat at different times of day and night).

If you’d like to sign up with Siteground you can use this link here (there’s no extra cost to you – DNG will simply get a small commission, which helps us keep our blog live and running. Thanks!).

Ok, so now you have a domain and hosting, your new website has an address for people to find and a place to live. Yippee!

 

Next: WordPress 🙂

The next step is to install WordPress. This was the step that really confused me in the beginning. I didn’t realise I should install WordPress on the hosting, not on my computer! Oh well.

The good news is that many hosts let you install WordPress in just a few simple steps and sometimes they even install it for you if you contact their support desk. For example, Siteground has a quick and easy 1-click WordPress install.

Once that’s done, you can now access the backend of your WordPress website. Yaaay!

It would take waaay too long for me to explain all the ins and outs of the WordPress dashboard here, but I’ll explain a few important things you’ll need to be familiar with:

Most of you will already know about themes and plugins, but maybe you’re not actually sure what they are.

 

Themes

If WordPress is the skeleton of your website, then the theme you use is the skin, or the outfit (less morbid) of your website. Your theme will define what your website will ultimately look like. So how do you find a good theme? That’s the tricky part!

There are soooo many themes available, some free, many paid, and a lot of them look very pretty. A few things you should keep in mind when picking a theme is how flexible it is and whether it’s responsive. Responsive means that it looks good on all devices – mobile, tablet and desktops – this is really important.

My absolute favourite WordPress theme is the Divi Theme by Elegant Themes. I fell in love with it over two years ago and have built all my websites using Divi. It’s not the cheapest, but once you buy it you can use it on as many websites as you like and you get access to all of the Elegant Themes plugins, all their other themes, and all future updates too.

What I love about Divi is that it’s sooo flexible. It uses a super awesome drag-and-drop builder that allows you to move around different modules (like text, images, videos, sign up boxes etc) really easily and you can customise it as much as you like. Because Divi is so popular, there’s a huge community of Divi whizzes out there who are super supportive and who create a ton of content about Divi. Whenever I need help I just pop into one of the Divi Facebook groups and get help.

 

Plugins

Plugins are also really important. They’re like little apps for WordPress that let you add a tonne of functionality to your website. From security to social media buttons, shopfronts to sign-up boxes, all can be achieved with plugins. Loads of them are completely free to use, which helps to keep the budget down.

I really hope you have a little better of an understanding why you should definitely have a website and also how you can get started with WordPress without being totally freaked out by the jargon. Want more WordPress tools? Download our FREE Digital Nomad Toolbox with lots more tools!

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