Even writing it still feels a little awkward, but yes, it seems I am an entrepreneur now. I guess I’ve known this for a little while, but a few weeks ago I won an entrepreneurship grant, so now it’s official.
The whole story was a totally crazy rollercoaster and I wanted to share it with you, but writing it all out I realised that it’s not nearly as exciting to read about as it was during that day. Duh. So here are the highlights of the grant, excerpts of the essay I submitted and what I learned from the whole experience.
What I learned from winning an entrepreneurship grant for DNG
What was this grant all about?
A year ago I met an entrepreneur in Las Palmas, he’d built a few very successful online business and also runs a popular blog, the Arbing Blog (now Sampriestly.com). Sam decided it would be awesome to give back to other budding entrepreneurs and so he created the Arbing Entrepreneurship Grant. Every three months he gives away three grants of $1000 each to new entrepreneurs so they can follow their dreams and build their businesses. Awesome, right?
I applied for the grant in late August, just barely making the deadline to be honest 😉 and got into the top 15. Yay! A public vote would decide the top three winners, which meant having to really put myself out there and push for votes in order to win.
Gulp. This is not something I’m usually very good/comfortable at.
At first, it all started out as a bit of fun. I shared about it all in the group and the girls were super lovely and voted. But what happened next was really a total surprise to me.
The girls in our community (you!) voted for DNG every single day, encouraged each other to vote each day and even started posting reminders in our Facebook group about it.
Suddenly it wasn’t about winning $1000 for myself anymore, it was about winning this prize for the girls and for DNG. I was the only girl with a realistic chance to get into the top 3 and I really wanted to make sure at least one of the winners was a female entrepreneur.
The vote lasted 3 weeks that coincided with my retreat. By the time voting day had come, the vote was super close and I was in 4th place. 😱 Conveniently I had also lost my voice the day before after talking too much at the retreat and then dancing in the square until 3 am.
Let me just say that losing your voice isn’t a great idea if you’re planning on doing a Facebook Live that day.
I had to get creative.
What followed was a “Love Actually”-style silent film of me holding up sign s to share my message. You can see the result below:
Well this was definitely one of the most fun things I've done in a while! A HUGE Thank you for all of you who are voting for DNG to win the entrepreneurship grant!! Here's the link if you haven't voted yet, we're so close and votes close tonight at midnight UK time! https://goo.gl/gChAisPosted by Digital Nomad Girls on Saturday, 30 September 2017
The girls really rallied the troops. My friend Alex from Travel Fashion Girl wrote about it in her newsletter that day (!), others shared with their friends and family, posted in their Facebook groups and pages. Art was created by my boyfriend. Just to clarify, the dead clown represented the circus school which was my biggest competition in the contest at that point.
In the end, girl power won and we managed to get ahead by around 150 votes. 🎉
We celebrated like crazy in the group and I learned a very important lesson about Digital Nomad Girls, myself and you amazing ladies.
I’ve never put myself out in the same way as I did that day. I’m usually super concerned about posting too much about my own stuff, I have a real phobia of being spammy and every time I write a newsletter I worry I might inconvenience my readers.
As you can imagine, this isn’t very helpful in online business.
That day I posted almost every hour in the group. I shared on my page, on Instagram, in stories, I did a FB Live. And I sent not one, but two emails to my list in one day. It was unheard of for me.
Guess what happened?
Everybody was incredibly supportive. I received dozens of emails cheering me and DNG on and wishing me luck. And most importantly, the world didn’t end and I didn’t destroy everything.
This probably sounds crazy for you, but for me as a newbie entrepreneur, I worry every day that I might ‘break’ my business. Not only did I not break it, but I was overwhelmed by support and enthusiasm. It was a real #girlpower moment.
Oh, and what am I planning to do with the $1000?
I’m investing the money in tools and resources to help me build the DNG Inner Circle, our upcoming membership site. Imagine a virtual coworking space with your business besties that travels with you wherever you go. Cool right?
If you want to find out more about my vision for the DNG Inner Circle, you can read my full grant application here.
Here’s the essence of it, it’s part of my original application:
“What I have learned over the last 2 years running DNG and meeting hundreds of lovely location independent girls, is that what we all have in common is a craving for community. No matter if we have home bases, if we travel frequently or sporadically, it can be isolating and even lonely at times to be a digital nomad.
Most of us are running or setting up online businesses which is a huge undertaking even if you have a consistent support network. Many of us don’t have this network as the digital nomad lifestyle is still pretty new and often family and friends don’t really understand our dreams. Many girls give up before they’ve even started because they either lack the support system or are sold a dream that is supposedly easy to achieve.
It has become my mission to inspire, connect and empower (aspiring) location independent girls around the world. I want Digital Nomad Girls to become the one-stop destination for all girls who are interested in this lifestyle. I want to give them honest and valuable advice, connect them with like-minded people and teach them the tools and skills they need to start an online career, whether as freelancer or as entrepreneurs.
While the retreats will always play a big role in DNG, what I am currently focussing on is creating a more focussed and valuable space for the girls to turn to. I call it the DNG Inner Circle.
This is my vision for the Inner Circle:
“A virtual coworking space that you share with all your business besties and that travels with you wherever you go.”
And these are some of the features:
- Mentorship – a group of successful digital nomad girls will mentor and support the new members throughout their journey
- Expert created Masterclasses – each month I will invite an expert to join us in the Inner Circle who will create a mini course on a relevant topic like finding remote jobs, business accounting, visas, productivity, travelling with family, balance and health while travelling, marketing, branding etc.
- Live Q&A sessions with experts – the experts will hold live Q&A sessions to help the girls with hands on advice
- Goal Setting- we will hold monthly goal setting sessions. It’s impossible to reach your goals if you don’t know what they are
- Accountability – we will pair the girls with accountability buddies to keep in touch with and hold each other accountable
- Exclusive Member perks & discounts for digital nomad services/tools/products
- Masterminding – we will hold monthly mastermind host seat sessions where we help the girls in a live session
One of the biggest benefits of the Inner Circle will be consistency. It can be very distracting to move to a new city every few months or even weeks. At each new coworking space you have to reintroduce not only yourself, but also your business or project and it’s hard to get great advice from people who just found out what you do. The girls and mentors inside the Inner Circle move with you wherever you go, and as your business evolves and grows.”
That’s basically it. That’s what’s been driving me for the last few months.
I wanted to take this opportunity to say a HUGE thank you to all of you who voted for me and DNG, who shared the posts and asked your friends and family to vote too. I appreciate all your help SOOO much and I can’t wait to share the DNG Inner Circle with you soon!!
What do you think about the DNG Inner Circle? Does this sound like a place you’d like to virtually hang out? Sign up here for the waiting list to be the first to find out when we launch!