In our brand new Member’s Spotlight series we feature interviews with our lovely DNG Inner Circle members! This month we talked to Deya, Project and Content Manager!
Hi Deya – please tell us a bit about yourself!
Hi everyone! My name is Deya. 🙂 I’m German/Spanish from my dad’s side and Taiwanese from my mom’s side, so I was born into a very favorable-for-nomadism life. I was flying before I could walk, and we moved around a lot growing up. Nowadays, I’m based in Munich, Germany, freelancing full time and travel throughout the year!
What is your location independent job?
I’m a Project & Content Manager, which basically means that I help online entrepreneurs with their digital content (think blogs, websites, podcasts, courses, membership sites, etc..)
I help them with a bit of everything: building out their content processes, managing the day-to-day workings of their products, setting up project management tools, managing small teams, developing project launch timelines, proofing all types of online content, etc.
How did you get into this line of work? How can others do the same?
It actually took a long while before I stumbled onto this. When I first started exploring the possibility of freelance, I tried absolutely EVERYTHING, and I really mean, everything. I did voice-overs, copyediting, proofreading, graphic design, translation – yeah, I know. I just wanted to try ALL the things. I was essentially dipping my toes into all the ponds I could find to see which felt the best for my interests and skills.
I think a lot of times when I talk to people who are interested in working online or living the ‘digital nomad’ life, they’re either overwhelmed by where to start or overwhelmed by the options available. I get that!
Analysis by paralysis is no stranger to my over-thinking ways. But honestly – just take that first tiny, tiny step. Apply to ONE gig, write to just ONE potential person you’d be interested in working with, or just take ONE course in the field to see if it’s how you imagine it to be. It’s okay if you don’t end up enjoying the work, it’s okay if it doesn’t end up working out; the least you can do is just try.
There’s no harm in trying, and there’s no harm in testing the waters to see what you’d be interested in. To continue the analogy, I’m now wading in the pond of project and content management, and absolutely loving it. All it took was that first little step!
What motivated you to pursue a life as a digital nomad?
I think growing up, I was very privileged in that I was able to experience a lot of cultures and a lot of different countries. We moved around a lot, so I ended up at international schools where we were studying with people from all over the world. It was the best. Country Information Days at school meant going classroom to classroom, tasting delicious food from all over the world (aka. the best week ever).
As I grew older, I fell into that stressful rat race path of going to university, doing internships, getting into a good job, etc.. It was after doing two full-time intense internships that I realized ‘Hmmm… perhaps this is not the right path for me because I feel like it’s literally sucking my soul out of my body?‘ So that’s when I got to work – googling, researching, experimenting. Any resources I could find on anything digital nomad, online business or working remotely related, I devoured.
In my head, I felt that there was no alternative. I didn’t think I could sustainably live my life happily doing the traditional path that everyone else was following; I knew I had to do whatever it took to make this other path work, to put freedom back into my life.
So it took a lot of late nights and weekends working 4-5 hours/day online, building things up, but eventually, it was enough money and reassurance for myself that it was feasible enough to do full-time. I feel extremely grateful and so lucky that I found this path and that I was able to find my way through the jungle that is the online world.
Did your friends/family/colleagues think you’ve gone crazy? Were they supportive?
I think I was more freaked out than anyone, to be completely honest. I was really worried about what people would think, about failing and what other people would say, which is all ridiculous because almost nobody is thinking about your life as much as you are. Life is too short; don’t let others’ opinions keep you from pursuing something you think may be right for you!
My family was curious but also very supportive, and my friends were a little weirded-out at first (because it’s so out of the norm in Asia and Germany) but they are supportive now as well. Just make sure to always keep in contact with everyone!
I think my family and friends were also supportive because I didn’t really share it all very publicly until I was already pretty underway with my freelancing; once I was making money, it was a proven thing and there wasn’t much that could stress my family out. I was kind of like ‘Oh, by the by, I’ve been doing this for a few months now and it’s been going great. ANYWAY. What are you up to?’ (It was a little sneaky of me.)
What challenges have you faced as a digital nomad and how did you overcome them?
I think every time I go to a new country, it takes me a while to settle in and find my groove. I think my default reaction is always panic and worry, so it takes me a little bit till I set up properly and figure the city out. That’s always a mini challenge for myself; I adapt well and I make friends quickly, but that initial stage of being somewhere where you’re 100% unfamiliar with anything is a real test to yourself and how comfortable you are with being uncomfortable. I’m still working on it!
I also struggle with literally traveling and working, which is so ironic because that’s what being a digital nomad is all about. It’s so hard to work while you’re running around airports or sitting on planes exhausted. It’s also hard to work in a new city when you just want to explore and experience without worrying about your work or finding good enough wifi.
The lifestyle is not quite as glamorous or ‘easy’ as people make it out to be, but it’s still hands-down the best lifestyle I could possibly imagine for myself.
It’s easy to complain about whatever lifestyle you choose for yourself, but whenever I put my lifestyle in the big picture and grand scheme of things, I can’t imagine my life any other way. It has been the BEST decision of my life – super cheesy, but has to be said.
You’re a member of the DNG Inner Circle, yay! Why did you decide to join?
YAY. The Inner Circle is amazing! I decided to join because working freelance from home all day can get a bit lonely at times. I have my boyfriend, but it’s a little different to have female company. The Inner Circle filled that gap completely for me! Having a group of ladies who are in the same spot as me, and are happy to hop on a coworking session whenever and just chit chat is so much fun.
It’s so important to get involved in a community that you love to be a part of and that makes you feel good about yourself. If you’re feeling a little lonely working from home by yourself (been there, girlfriend), get involved! Get involved in a local community or a digital community that you love.
What is your favorite part of the Inner Circle? What makes it special?
I love the co-working sessions, I LOVE the accountability buddies. I love the events. I’ve also met up with Inner Circle members “in real life,” and they’ve become good friends of mine.
We meet up regularly to cowork and to hang out – I’m so grateful to the Inner Circle. Having that support network of girls who are doing exactly what I’m doing, who are struggling with exactly what I’m struggling with – seriously priceless. I mean – you can’t really put a price on genuine friendships, right?
Who do you think would benefit from joining the DNG Inner Circle?
Honestly, I think all girls interested in the digital nomad movement could benefit! If you’re a digital nomad, if you’re an aspiring digital nomad, if you’re just discovering the concept and think it’s pretty cool – join us in the Inner Circle!
It’s amazing to be surrounded by women who just ‘GET IT’; you don’t have to over-explain anything about your life, your interests, your values. They’re on the same page as you in life priorities, in business, in lifestyle. We’re all different and diverse in the Inner Circle but we’re so united by our same passion for travel and working remotely. It’s such a supportive and special community.
They’re SO encouraging, so creative, so interesting in their own unique ways. It’s really a one-of-a-kind community; I highly, highly recommend it.
What advice would you give a girlfriend who wanted to start out as a digital nomad?
Take. that. first. step. Just do it! Stop worrying, stop overthinking, and stop overanalyzing (there’s plenty of time for that later). If you’re having trouble taking that first step, feel free to write me. I’ll hold you accountable for that first step. 😉
[By the way: If you’re not sure where to get started or which job to do online, we have a great blog article on 50+ jobs that digital nomad girls are doing to inspire you!]
Quick Fire Round:
The coolest thing I’ve been able to do thanks to being location-independent is… mostly related to eating all kinds of food. I feel very blessed with how much good food I’ve been able to eat on my travels: soup dumplings, pastel de natas, proper ramen, fluffy pretzels, stroopwaffles, Belgian waffles, the list is never-ending.
When I feel lonely, I… cuddle a cat!
My favourite digital nomad location is … Lisbon was absolutely amazing and such an underrated city, but I also love the good ol’ southern coast of Spain and Taiwan!
The one item I always pack is… sweatpants! There’s nothing like feeling at home anywhere in the world when you can slide on your most comfortable and soft pair of sweats.
In 5 years time I want to … hopefully be doing exactly what I’m doing now, just much better and much, much bigger!
My all-time favourite quote is …
“This too shall pass.” The good, the bad and everything in between – it’ll all pass eventually. So hold on to the good moments as long as you can, and don’t forget that the bad times will always pass.