In our brand new Member’s Spotlight series we feature interviews with our lovely DNG Inner Circle members! This month we talked to Anna Codina, Copywriter and Content Marketer!
Hi Anna! Please tell us a bit about yourself 🙂
I’m originally from Singapore, and I currently live in Costa Rica. I started out as a freelance Web Developer and Graphic Designer in 2009, but transitioned into Writing and Radio/Podcasting years later. I’ve been location independent since around 2012-ish.
What is your location independent job?
I’m a writer for a podcast production company and have worked alongside companies like Evernote to create their podcast. I’m also starting a new company, which focuses on content marketing and social media marketing.
Shameless plug: I’m currently doing market research for it, so if you need help with your content marketing or social media needs, message me and I’d love to interview/help you :).
How did you get into this line of work? How can others do the same?
It was a bit random to be honest. It basically came down to knowing a guy who knew a guy. I knew a guy who was a writer and needed help with business stuff, so I became his business partner. I knew a guy who was a program director and needed a new radio host, so I became a radio host. That’s how it started.
I know that’s not super helpful. The real takeaway though is it’s okay to try new things when you’re the least qualified person in the room. Don’t psych yourself out. You’re more capable than you realize. I thought I was going to be a web developer forever, but things change.
Here are also some other ways that other DNG’s have gotten started online!
What motivated you to pursue a life as a digital nomad?
I was working in customer service and I hated it. With a passion. I wasn’t making that much money, but I saved all I could and spent all my money on a solo trip to France for two weeks. It really opened my eyes as to what I could achieve with a little bit of hard work.
It led me to realize that I had choices and I was not forced to do something I hated for years and years. I could create opportunities for myself, and those opportunities meant I could travel whenever I wanted and still be a responsible adult. Back then, it was called ‘being stubborn’ not ‘being a digital nomad‘. Ha!
Did your friends/family/colleagues think you’ve gone crazy? Were they supportive?
I had a really hard time. My parents were definitely concerned. The friends I had did not understand what I was doing and really discouraged it. It was a very lonely and a difficult journey in the beginning, but you just gotta know what you want and not let the grenades stop you.
If you’re going through something similar, don’t let people put fear into you. You’re going to find your way back to the same conclusion eventually, you’ll just be a little bit older.
What challenges have you faced as a digital nomad and how did you overcome them?
When my business partner and I decided to go our separate ways, and due to the sudden departure of it all, I found myself flat broke with no clients for a couple of months. That wasn’t fun. I was able to recover from it by reaching out to old clients, but it was embarrassing. I hadn’t spoken to some of them in years.
Cultivate relationships before you need them. Don’t be like me. Check in with past clients to see how they’re doing and let them know you appreciate them. You remain top of mind in case anything comes up and you’re also able to recommend them to other amazing people. Win-win!
You’re a member of the DNG Inner Circle, yay! Why did you decide to join?
To meet awesome ladies and network! It’s always great to know someone in a different country and do meetups in the future.
What is your favorite part of the Inner Circle? What makes it special?
In the Inner Circle, I love the goal setting workshops, the expert talks/packs, and the community. I’m a bit of a lurker, but I see everything. Haha!
Who do you think would benefit from joining the DNG Inner Circle?
Anyone who needs more friends that ‘get it’. It’s difficult running your own business and sometimes you just need a place to vent.
How do you connect with and meet people when travelling?
Meetup.com has a lot of stuff happening all over the world. AirBnB now has an ‘experiences’ section where you can take local tours and meet people. I’m pretty introverted though and typically keep to myself when I travel or I’m just super focused on work/attending conferences.
What advice would you give a girlfriend who wanted to start out as a digital nomad?
A lot of people fail because they jump in with no safety net and no plan. Don’t quit your day job just yet. Develop an emergency fund of at least 6 months of living expenses and work on your business part-time.
For now, schedule in your work hours during your days off. It will be exhausting. Get diligent about managing your time and get realistic about the kinds of things you will have to give up (going out, buying things, seeing friends, etc). If you have kids, see what kinds of things you can outsource so you can focus.
When you have 2-3 clients and a year’s worth of savings, then consider quitting. If you’re consistent with your work, then expect to stop living paycheck-to paycheck around the 2-3 year mark. You’ll have the ability to travel without things exploding around the 5 year mark. This is just a general rule. Results may vary.
Today, I’m reaping the benefits of work I did years ago. It only took 9 years of trial and error.
Quick Fire Round:
The coolest thing I’ve been able to do thanks to being location-independent is…. Take dive lessons and see baby whales underwater.
When I feel lonely, I … Eat sushi and journal.
My favourite digital nomad location is … Nooo don’t ask me this. Montreal?
The one item I always pack is … Wireless foldable keyboard. I tend to pack minimal.
My favourite digital nomad tool/app/resource is … The app ‘Money lover‘. Tracks spending in multiple currencies.
In 5 years time I want to … Have my business up and running with a small team.
My all-time favourite quote is …
“If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old.” – Peter F. Drucker
Thank you SO much Anna for sharing your story with us! If you want to find out more about Anna you can connect with her on LinkedIn.